Since Carlos Ghosn's 'Great Escape' from house arrest in Tokyo over the new year holiday, reporters from around the world have been scrambling to dig up any details they can about the planning, execution and consequences of the now-legendary extraction operation, which was reportedly masterminded by an ex-Green Beret with a checkered past (and a reputation for rescuing kidnapping victims around the world).
Ghosn has refused to offer any more details about the planning and execution of the escape, other than saying that he numbed himself during the journey. In the days since that press conference, some signs of strain have surfaced between Ghosn and his new host country, Lebanon, which yesterday announced a travel ban preventing Ghosn from leaving Lebanon while an INTERPOL red notice is still active.
While we might not learn any more details about Ghosn's escape - at least not any time soon - a team of Bloomberg reporters have produced what seems to us like a realistic tally of the former auto titan's expenses.
They determined that in addition to the $14 million in bail he forfeited by fleeing Japan, the operation to win his freedom might have cost another $15 million.
This includes $350,000 for the chartered jet that flew Ghosn from Osaka to Istanbul. The rest likely went to pay expenses and fees for a team of up to 25 people, who may have taken as long as six months to plan the operation. The enormous cost has seen Ghosn's fortune shrink by roughly 40% since his arrest more than a year ago at Tokyo's Haneda Airport.
Still, Ghosn's net worth is still believed to be roughly $70 million - down from roughly $120 million at the time of his first court appearance in Japan. And looking ahead, Ghosn will likely rack up millions of dollars in legal fees pretty quickly as France investigates possible misuse of funds by Ghosn to host a lavish party at Versailles. Nissan is also trying to evict him from the pink villa in Beirut where he is staying. That villa was purchased and maintained by the company for the benefit of the CEO.
Ghosn's downfall had already prompted Nissan and Renault, the two members of the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance where Ghosn exercised the most control, to cancel some $140 million in retirement benefits that would have gone to the former CEO.
Though the general public wasn't well-acquainted with Ghosn before his escape from Japan, the former CEO's high-stakes antics has captured the public's interest. Many have speculated that Netflix & HBO will rush to develop series about Ghosn's escape from Japan, and a side-scrolling videogame entitled "Ghone is gone" has been uploaded to popular video-gaming service Steam.
Meanwhile, Ghosn is said to be planning a tell-all book, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK.