US arrests ex-Green Beret, son wanted by Japan for ex-Nissan boss’ escape

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn fled to Lebanon, his childhood home, while awaiting trial in Japan. (AP pic)

WASHINGTON: US authorities on Wednesday arrested a former Special Forces soldier and another man wanted by Japan on charges that they enabled the escape of former Nissan Motor Co boss Carlos Ghosn out of the country.

Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts said that former US Green Beret Michael Taylor, 59, and his son, Peter Taylor, 27, helped Ghosn last year flee to Lebanon to avoid trial in Japan over alleged financial wrongdoing.

Japan had in January issued arrest warrants for both men along with a third, George-Antoine Zayek, in connection with facilitating the Dec 29, 2019 escape.

The Taylors are scheduled to appear by video conference before a federal judge later on Wednesday.

Lawyers for the men could not be immediately identified.

Ghosn fled to Lebanon, his childhood home, while he was awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting earnings, breach of trust and misappropriation of company funds, all of which he denies.

US legal papers recount the details of Ghosn’s escape including his departure from Japan hidden in a large black box aboard a private jet.

The Japanese embassy in Washington and Nissan did not immediately comment on the arrests.

Federal prosecutors asked the judge to order both men detained. “The very offence for which Michael Taylor is charged in Japan demonstrates his aptitude for hatching escape plans on a grand scale and his blatant disrespect for bond conditions,” the government said.

Earlier this month, Turkish prosecutors prepared an indictment charging seven people, including four pilots and two flight attendants, over Ghosn’s escape via Istanbul to Lebanon.

After Japan submitted requests for the men’s arrest, the Justice Department obtained warrants on May 6.

US law enforcement learned Peter Taylor had booked a flight from Boston to Beirut departing Wednesday with a layover in London and he was arrested by US marshals as was Michael Taylor in Harvard, Massachusetts.