Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 February 2020

Turkey releases images of alleged Carlos Ghosn accomplices

Former Nissan executive has refused to provide details of his escape from Japan

A video grab released by the Istanbul Police Department shows Michael Taylor, second right, and George Antoine Zayek at passport control in Istanbul Airport, according to state news agency Anadolu. Demiroren News Agency / AFP
A video grab released by the Istanbul Police Department shows Michael Taylor, second right, and George Antoine Zayek at passport control in Istanbul Airport, according to state news agency Anadolu. Demiroren News Agency / AFP

Turkey's state news agency has published images of two men accused of helping fugitive businessman Carlos Ghosn escape via Istanbul as he fled a corruption trial in Japan.

The security camera images show Michael Taylor and George Antoine Zayek at passport control in Istanbul Airport, according to state news agency Anadolu.

The Wall Street Journal described Mr Taylor as a former US special forces operative now working as a private security contractor.

Mr Ghosn, 65, the former boss of carmaker Nissan, fled from Japan reportedly by hiding inside an audio equipment box. He arrived in Lebanon on December 31 and held a press conference in Beirut on January 8 at which he denied the charges of charges of financial wrongdoing against him and said he fled to escape "injustice and persecution".

Mr Ghosn has refused to comment on the details of his escape. Turkish police say he arrived aboard a private jet at Istanbul's smaller Ataturk Airport and disembarked on foot before transferring to another private jet for Lebanon.

A manifest of the getaway flight from Osaka to Istanbul did not list Mr Ghosn, but it included two passengers named Michael Taylor and George Antoine Zayek, according to Bloomberg.

Anadolu's report suggested Mr Taylor and Mr Zayek accompanied Mr Ghosn from Japan to Turkey, but then transferred to Istanbul's main airport and took a separate flight to Beirut with Middle East Airlines.

Turkey has arrested five people as part of its investigation into the escape, including employees of MNG, the private jet firm used by Mr Ghosn.

The firm says its aircraft were used illegally in the escape and has filed a criminal complaint.

Updated: January 17, 2020 03:19 PM

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