U.S. arrests ex-Green Beret and son accused of aiding Ghosn's escape

Ruben Fields
May 20, 2020

A father and son suspected of helping fugitive former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn flee Japan in December were arrested Wednesday in the United States, justice officials and court documents said.

Former US special forces soldier Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor are charged in the weird plot to smuggle the ousted Nissan CEO out of Japan in December.

Court papers announcing the Taylors' arrest and details of their alleged crimes were unsealed in MA federal court on Wednesday.

The two pose a flight risk and must remain in detention as the United States awaits a formal extradition request from Japan, prosecutors said in a filing with the US District Court in MA. Peter Taylor, then went to Narita Airport and boarded a flight to China.

The Taylors and a Lebanese man named George-Antoine Zayek are accused by Japan of helping Ghosn flee Japan on 29 December.

Ghosn said he fled because he could not expect a fair trial, was subjected to unfair conditions in detention and was barred from meeting his wife under his bail conditions. From there he flew to Lebanon, which does not extradite its citizens to Japan.

Peter Taylor had travelled to Japan at least three times since July 2019 and met with Ghosn at least seven times during those visits, according to court records. The luggage passed through a security checkpoint without being checked and was loaded onto a private jet headed for Turkey, the documents say. The status of Zayek was not mentioned in court documents.

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Details of the Taylors' alleged involvement in the escape are unclear.

Prosecutors urged the court not to release either man on bail on the grounds that they could contract the coronavirus while in prison, arguing that neither was at high risk.

"Ultimately, Ghosn was hidden in a large black box and whisked out of Japan in the private jet without detection by Japanese authorities", the prosecutors said.

Two days later Mr Ghosn made a public announcement that he was in his childhood home of Lebanon.

The court filings portrayed the escape as similar to scenes from a movie thriller.

Ghosn was accused of major financial wrongdoing while leading Nissan.

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