Two men arrested in US for allegedly helping Carlos Ghosn flee Japan

The former Nissan executive fled Japan for his native Lebanon while on bail following being charged with financial crimes.

al-monitor Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn gestures during a news conference at the Lebanese Press Syndicate in Beirut, Jan. 8, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir.

May 20, 2020

Two men were arrested in Massachusetts today for allegedly helping former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn make his infamous escape from Japan to his home country of Lebanon.

Michael Taylor, a 59-year-old former Green Beret, and Peter Taylor, 27, are awaiting extradition to Japan. Authorities there say the father and son helped the automobile executive flee while he was on bail awaiting trial for financial crimes, according to a Department of Justice spokeswoman.

“According to the information provided by the government of Japan, Michael and Peter Taylor have been charged with enabling the escape of Carlos Ghosn," the spokeswoman told Al-Monitor.

Ghosn served as Nissan's CEO from 2001-2017 and as the company's chairman from 2001-2018. He was arrested in 2018 in Japan for alleged financial misconduct, which he denies. In April 2019, he was released on bail. He then fled to Lebanon by way of a flight to Istanbul in a subsequently highly publicized escape at the end of last year.

The Taylors flew to Japan in December, met with Ghosn and helped facilitate his escape, court documents allege. Peter Taylor flew to Japan three times in 2019 to meet with Ghosn. Michael Taylor arrived in December with another man carrying “two large black boxes” and told airport staff they were musicians. The three then left a Tokyo hotel room together, according to the court documents.

The attorney the Department of Justice said is representing the Taylors did not immediately respond to Al-Monitor's request for comment. The two appeared in court today via videoconference and remain detained, the department spokeswoman said. 

The United States and Japan have an extradition treaty and Japan asked the United States to arrest the two, the documents said.

Ghosn’s journey has received considerable media attention. Turkey charged seven people this month with crimes related to facilitating his escape. Ghosn’s presence in Lebanon has also been controversial due to a 2008 business visit to Israel. Visiting the Jewish state is a crime in Lebanon, and Ghosn has apologized for having gone there.

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