By on January 30, 2020

Tokyo prosecutors have issued warrants for the arrest of Carlos Ghosn and three Americans they claim helped him escape the country in December. His surprise arrival in Lebanon initially befuddled Japanese authorities, prompting the country to file a red notice with Interpol before releasing the latest warrant.

While a new development in the Ghosn saga, it doesn’t change much. The former executive still faces charges of financial misconduct stemming from his tenure with Nissan, but he now finds himself charged with violating Japan’s Immigration Control Law.

Japan’s take is that Ghosn fled the country to avoid justice (a backwards version of his own view). The former automotive executive and his wife, who is also wanted in Japan, have both stated publicly that they believe the country’s legal system would never allow Ghosn a fair trial, claiming officials worked with Nissan to help enact the industrial-grade coup that removed him. 

According to Automotive News, Japanese prosecutors have fingered three individuals they believe assisted Carlos in his escape. They’ve been identified as Michael Taylor (59), Peter Maxwell Taylor (26), and George Zeyek (60). Various media reports claim Taylor is a former U.S. Green Beret special forces soldier and Zayek is a former Christian militia fighter from Lebanon.

The details of that escape are like something out of a heist movie. Based on surveillance footage, it’s assumed the three men met Ghosn at the Tokyo hotel where he was being held under house arrest to help smuggle him out. That process started with getting him onto a train to the airport, where a plane was waiting. However, to complete the ruse, Carlos had to hide in a large case normally intended for transporting speakers.

From Automotive News:

In Osaka, the conspirators packed Ghosn into a case and put him on a private plane that departed around 11:00 pm, according to the prosecutors’ account. The Americans boarded with him, they alleged, thereby also skipping immigration control and violating the law.

Japanese authorities have told local media they have surveillance camera footage of Ghosn and his handlers entering a hotel near the airport. Later, the men emerge with the box, but no Ghosn.

On Wednesday, NHK World reported that Japanese prosecutors searched the office of lawyer Junichiro Hironaka. As part of Ghosn’s legal defense team, Hironaka is alleged to have allowed his client access to his computer on multiple occasions while on bail. The device was thought to hold evidence related to the escape.

Ghosn’s lawyers initially refused to hand over the PC, citing a legal right to protect the client’s confidentiality. However, they’ve since washed their hands of the affair. They issued a statement on January 16th saying there’s no chance their client will ever want to return to Japan on his own accord, and quickly abandoned the case. Considering their client left $13.8 million in bail money on the table by fleeing the country, they probably have a point.

Likewise, Lebanon has no extradition treaty and is unlikely to turn on Ghosn. Lebanese judicial authorities have already stated they have no intention of surrendering him to Japan. While there is a chance he could be tried locally, that’s unlikely to come with the same penalties as a Japanese trail — and unlikely to happen unless Lebanon feels there’s clear evidence pointing to criminal behavior beyond his simply violating immigration laws.

[Image: Plamen Galabov/Shutterstock]

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9 Comments on “New Arrest Warrants Issued for Carlos Ghosn and Accomplices...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    :popcorn:

  • avatar
    Jon

    Just curious. How will the arrest warrants play out for the American accomplices?

  • avatar
    EGSE

    Criminal behavior doesn’t find much favor with me but I have some sympathy for Ghosn. Putting punitive actions before a finding of guilt makes the proceedings a sham. Instead of being incensed by his behavior, I’m eagerly awaiting the movie.

    Every corporate risk manager at firms doing business in Japan has to have this incident on their radar. It’s not the kind of publicity that makes companies want to do business there.

    • 0 avatar
      Ol Shel

      He seems like an intelligent guy, so it’s hard to believe that he didn’t know the consequences he would face if charged with a crime in Japan.

      Now he’s free to look for the actual Nissan embezzlers, with O.J., on the golf course.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Foreign arrest warrants mean nothing in another country. First the issuing country needs to make an extradition request, presuming that there is an extradition treaty between the two countries.

    Then the crime in question has to be a crime in both countries, too. If I were in Elbonia and shouted “F*** the King!” in front of the palace, for which I could be put to death by being cast into a fiery furnace, the US authorities wouldn’t extradite me because that’s not a crime here. And I don’t think another country is going to bother much for non-serious crimes, either. Politics may also play a part…

    The exfil team seems to have done a fine job of getting their client out of Japan, and a lousy one of concealing their identities and the part they played in the whole escape plot.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    There he is wearing his Pi$$ on Nissan shirt! ;-)

  • avatar

    “charged with violating Japan’s Immigration Control Law.”

    Evvery year million of Mexican migrants violate American Immigration Control Law and no one cares about it. Why Japan suddenly cares? And what heck is with not allowing Ghosn to have access to his personal computer when he was not even indicted yet.

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