January 8, 2020 / 1:39 PM / 18 days ago

Turkish jet firm met Japan ambassador to offer help with Ghosn

ISTANBUL, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The Turkish operator of private jets that ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn used to escape Japan said on Wednesday it met with the Japanese ambassador to Turkey and offered to collaborate with the authorities in that country over the incident.

Ghosn became an international fugitive last week after he revealed he had fled to Lebanon, via Istanbul, to escape what he called a "rigged" justice system in Japan where he faces charges relating to alleged financial crimes.

"The company met with the Japanese ambassador in Ankara to offer to collaborate with the authorities," said a spokesperson for Turkey-based MNG Jet, which has said it was unaware Ghosn flew on its jets from Osaka.

MNG has filed a criminal complaint saying one of its employees falsified documents to facilitate the escape.

Separately, a Turkish police source told Reuters Ghosn transferred between planes that were 25 metres apart on the tarmac at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, which was closed to commercial flights last year.

CCTV footage released by state run Anadolu news agency showed a figure crossing the tarmac towards a jet.

Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into Ghosn's transit through Istanbul and detained five people including four pilots.

Japanese authorities did not demand legal cooperation from Turkey, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said on Saturday.

Ghosn, who was first arrested in Tokyo in November 2018, faces four charges - which he denies - including hiding income and enriching himself through payments to dealerships in the Middle East.

He told a news conference in Beirut on Wednesday that the charges against him were baseless. "I am here to clear my name. These allegations are untrue and I should never have been arrested in the first place," he said. (Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Additional reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer)

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