U.S. Nabs Two Men, Including Ex-Green Beret, in Ghosn Escape Caper
Authorities arrested a former U.S. special forces member and his son in Massachusetts Wednesday, accusing them of helping former Renault and Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn escape from Japanese justice. Just after Christmas, Ghosn, under house arrest awaiting trial for financial crimes, turned up in the safe country of Lebanon following a complex and hazy escape plan.
Such a plan was beyond the abilities of Ghosn to pull off on his own, but it seems just such an extraction was Michael Taylor’s specialty. Taylor, 59, a former Green Beret, was arrested along with his 27-year-old son Peter.
As reported by CNBC, the Taylors are scheduled to appear by video conference in a federal court in Massachusetts today. Japan is seeking their extradition in order to prosecute them for involvement in Ghosn’s daring and intricately planned escape.
A Bloomberg report from January detailed the plot extensively, naming Taylor, who met his wife while serving in Lebanon, as the man who put it all together. Allegedly aided by a Lebanese contact and, possibly, his own son, Taylor is said to have orchestrated Ghosn’s well-timed escape from house arrest in Tokyo, his passage to a bullet train station by way of a hotel with many entrances (designed to confuse plainclothed cops who may have shadowed him from the house), and his eventual date with an over-sized instrument case at a hotel near Kansai International Airport in Osaka.
Prosecutors said the government of Japan has charged “Michael and Peter Taylor … with enabling the escape of Carlos Ghosn Bichara, the former Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Nissan who was indicted in Japan for financial crimes and had been released on bail pending his trial.”
News of the arrests was first reported by Seamus Hughes, a George Washington University professor, who discovered documents related to the busts.
After leaving the Army, Taylor set up a private security firm in Boston, American International Security Corp. Bloomberg characterizes Taylor’s specialty as “operating in gray areas.”
It’s alleged that the extraction team bundled Ghosn into the instrument case and onto a rented business jet bound for Istanbul, knowing that security screening for private aircraft was limited. A second rented jet carried Ghosn on the last leg of his trip to Beirut, where the fallen executive holds citizenship. A French passport Ghosn was apparently allowed to have possession of (via his lawyer, under lock and key) was in his pocket.
With no extradition agreement existing between Lebanon and Japan, the arrest warrants and Interpol Red Notice issued after his escape can’t do much. That said, those who allegedly helped him out remain vulnerable. Earlier this month, Turkey charged four pilots, an airline executive, and a flight attendant for their involvement in the caper.
Ghosn has vigorously denied any and all accusations of financial impropriety. The ousted CEO claims he was a victim of a corporate coup with official Japanese backing, insisting that had he remained in Japan awaiting his deferred trial (following an extensive stay in the can before being allowed bail), he would have faced only a perversion of justice.
[Image: Plamen Galabov/Shutterstock]
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freaking...AWESOME my dad was really fun to be around but we never did anything like that
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