U.S. authorities have arrested two Americans—one a former Green Beret—for their alleged roles in helping former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn flee Japan by stowing him away in a large musical instrument case.
Federal agents are reported to have arrested Peter Taylor, 59, and his son Michael Taylor, 26, early Wednesday in Massachusetts at the request of Japan, where the two were charged alongside a third American man earlier this year with allegedly enabling Ghosn’s daring escape out of the country back in late December.
The arrests were first revealed by Seamus Hughes from the Program on Extremism at George Washington University and a Daily Beast contributor.
Ghosn shocked the world, and humiliated Japanese authorities, when he managed to slip out of his home in Tokyo, where he was awaiting trial on charges of financial wrongdoing. In January, Japanese prosecutors issued arrest warrants for the three Americans, including the Taylors, for allegedly helping Ghosn avoid immigration checks and board a private jet that flew him out the country.
The court documents offer further details on how the alleged escape plot unfolded and state that Peter Taylor met Ghosn at least seven times in the months ahead of the daring operation.
On the final occasion, on Dec. 28, Michael Taylor and the third American suspect, George Antoine Zayek, arrived in Japan via a private jet carrying “large black boxes.” They allegedly told Japanese authorities that they were musicians and the boxes were intended to carry their equipment.
The documents state that Michael Taylor and Zayek then picked up Ghosn from a Tokyo hotel and the three traveled by taxi and train to the hotel where the big boxes were being stored. After the three walked up to their booked room together, Michael Taylor and Zayak are said to have left around an hour later; there is no footage of Ghosn leaving the room.
That’s because, as the documents allege: “Ghosn was hiding in one of the two large black boxes being carried by Michael Taylor and Zayek.”
The three are then said to have traveled to Kansai International Airport and managed to get their luggage onto the private jet without a security check. They departed for Turkey that night; Ghosn made his startling public appearance in Lebanon a day later.
Ghosn has maintained his innocence and defended his decision to escape Japan, saying that he wouldn’t get a fair trial in the country.
The Taylors are expected to appear by video conference before a federal judge in Massachusetts later Wednesday afternoon.