Turkish jet firm under spotlight with Ghosn escape – LA Times

A Turkish court ruled on Friday to formally arrest five suspects as part of an investigation into Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Lebanon by way of Istanbul.


The dramatic exfiltration of Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Beirut via Istanbul is drawing attention to Turkish charter operator MNG Jet, and the private world of charter flights, the LA Times said on Friday.

A Turkish court ruled on Friday to formally arrest five suspects as part of an investigation into Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Lebanon by way of Istanbul. According to officials from the company, MNG Jet’s planes were used illegally for Ghosn’s escape from Osaka.

MNG has an eyebrow raising track record, the article said, noting the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro used aircraft from MNG to ship gold to Istanbul while Turkish-Iranian, gold trader Reza Zarrab, who was convicted U.S. sanctions busting against Iran, tapped the company to manage his private plane.

Despite giving customers a cloak of privacy, the tail numbers and registrations of charter jets can be tracked, partially piercing their secrecy, the LA Times said, and that is just how MNG’s name became unveiled in the Ghosn drama.

“I’m sure they’re on everyone’s radar screens now,” the article quoted Michael Burton, an attorney specializing in international trade law, as saying.

MNG Jet, while filing a lawsuit in the case involving Ghosn, maintains customers can do whatever they want with the aircraft they have chartered, as long as it isn’t illegal.

“Similarly to a car rental agency, MNG Jet is renting out planes, and does not bear any responsibility for what the passengers do with them,” the article quoted MNG as saying in an official statement. “According to the international aviation code, it is not MNG Jet’s role, responsibility and rights to enquire about the reasons behind the travels or to check the content of the luggage transported by the passengers in the planes.”

The company maintains a MNG Jet employee, who is under investigation by Turkish authorities “has admitted having falsified the records,” acting on his own individual capacity.

The Bombardier Global Express, tail number TC-TSR, which Ghosn boarded, made a trip to Venezuela earlier in the spring, it said, when an April 30 uprising against Maduro prompted talk of an escape, which never took place.

The same jet several weeks later, however, transported Venezuelan officials to Oslo for talks with opposition leaders, it said.

MNG Jet is part of a business empire founded by Turkish-born civil engineer Mehmet Nazif Gunal, who appears to have a soft spot for Russia, the article said.

Günal’s conglomerate built an 874-room Turkish coastal resort called the Asteria Kremlin Palace, an onion-domed replica of the Moscow original with pools in place of Red Square, the LA Times said.

It is also part of a consortium that’s building Istanbul’s new massive airport.

Source: Ahval


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