On 18 November 2018, Carlos Ghosn leaves Beirut to travel to Japan for a Nissan board meeting, scheduled to take place the next day.
On 19 November 2018, Carlos Ghosn lands around 4:30 pm in Tokyo. He makes his way to the terminal of Haneda airport where a customs officer tells him there is a problem with his passport. The officer asks him to go into a small side room where the Tokyo prosecutor, Seki is waiting and informs him of his arrest. Carlos Ghosn is then transferred to the Tokyo detention center in Kosuge, for what will be the start of the first period of confinement, which is solitary and lasts 108 days. The future of the chairman and CEO has just collapsed in the space of a few hours and without explanation.
Simultaneously, Greg Kelly, responsible for the vice-presidency of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance and member of the board of Nissan, who also arrived in Tokyo on 19 November 2018, is arrested. Greg Kelly is arrested on the motorway between the airport and his hotel. He is also driven to Kosuge where he is detained until Christmas Eve 2018 and released on bail in exchange for a payment of 70 million yen.
Greg Kelly had initially planned to join Nissan’s board meeting via video conference from the United States of America in view of a spinal column operation scheduled for December. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dee Kelly, his wife, states that Nissan had ordered Greg Kelly to be physically present at this meeting. Hari Nada, senior vice president and head of the CEO’s office at Nissan, even insisted on chartering one of the corporate jets especially between Nashville (where Greg Kelly resides and where the head office of Nissan in North America is located) and Tokyo.
Carlos Ghosn and Greg Kelly are then notified of the reason for their arrests.
Carlos Ghosn is accused of having underreported his declared remuneration to the Japanese stock market authorities from 2011 to 2015. Greg Kelly is criticized for having been involved in the understatement of this income.
The attention to detail in the organization of these two simultaneous arrests is not a coincidence but the consequence of an orchestrated plan. In fact, the images filmed by Nobuo Fujiwara, a journalist at Asahi Shimbun, and the photos taken by his colleague Takuya Isayama, are pushed out by the Japanese media then promulgated worldwide. The shocking video, with the eye-catching arrest of Carlos Ghosn on the plane by officers of the Tokyo prosecutor, shows the officers going in and out of the plane.
At no point does Carlos Ghosn appear in the images and for a good reason, he was not on the plane when the images were filmed. He had already left the airport and was traveling to the detention center in Kosuge when the scene was filmed.
However, it does not prevent the journalist from Asahi Shimbun present at the scene from securing sensationalist media coverage by reporting that “the investigators had authorization to get close to the plane on the tarmac shortly after it arrived. That enabled the prosecutors to board the corporate plane and to question Ghosn a few minutes after it landed”.
Later, during the evening of 19 November 2018, Nissan confirms the arrest of Carlos Ghosn and Greg Kelly through a press release and Hiroto Saikawa, the CEO of Nissan, gives a press conference on behalf of the Japanese carmaker.