U.S. Arrests Former Green Beret, Son, In Connection With Carlos Ghosn Escape From Japan

U.S. Arrests Former Green Beret, Son, in Connection with Carlos Ghosn Escape From Japan

Michael and Peter Taylor are arrested in Ghosn case, extradition to Japan is sought

Updated May 20, 2020 11:26 am ET

U.S. authorities arrested a former Green Beret and his son on suspicion they helped smuggle auto titan Carlos Ghosn out of Japan inside a musical equipment box.

In a criminal complaint, federal prosecutors said they were acting on a request from Japanese authorities to extradite Michael L. Taylor and his son, Peter M. Taylor, for their alleged roles in helping Mr. Ghosn escape from Japan.

Michael and Peter Taylor didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Ghosn, a former Chairman and Chief Executive of Nissan Motor Co., had been charged in Japan with financial crimes and was living in a court-monitored Tokyo house when he suddenly disappeared from the country in late December. He turned up in Lebanon, and announced he had fled Japan because he didn’t feel that he was able to get a fair trial there.

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In a cinema-worthy plot, Michael Taylor helped Mr. Ghosn sneak onto a private jet at an Osaka airport by hiding him in a large box normally used for musical equipment, The Wall Street Journal reported shortly after the escape. Mr. Ghosn changed planes in Turkey and remains in Lebanon.

In January, a Japanese court issued arrest warrants for Michael Taylor, Peter Taylor and Lebanese-born U.S. citizen George Zayek on suspicion they violated Japan’s immigration-control laws by allegedly helping Mr. Ghosn to escape.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Ghosn declined to comment. Mr. Zayek didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Court documents show both Taylors were arrested early Wednesday in Massachusetts. Michael Taylor owns a house in a distant suburb of Boston. Peter Taylor had been planning a trip to Beirut and was set to depart Wednesday, prosecutors said in court documents.

Michael Taylor, 59 years old, is a longtime security operative and former Army special forces soldier who made a career of arranging complicated, sometimes hair-raising overseas rescues and other missions.

Prosecutors asked a federal judge to detain both Taylors pending extradition hearings. They said Michael Taylor “presents an enormous risk of flight,” arguing that his alleged involvement in the Ghosn plot “demonstrates his aptitude for hatching escape plans on a grand scale and his blatant disrespect for bond conditions.”

“The plot to spirit Ghosn out of Japan was one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history, involving a dizzying array of hotel meet-ups, bullet train travel, fake personas, and the chartering of a private jet,” prosecutors said, in arguing for Mr. Taylor’s detention.

(More to come)

Write to Mark Maremont at mark.maremont@wsj.com and Nick Kostov at Nick.Kostov@wsj.com

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