Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

Former US Green Beret arrested for planning Carlos Ghosn’s escape from justice

US legal papers allege former Nissan chief escaped on private jet and was hidden in large black box

Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn held a news conference in Lebanon shortly after his arrival in the country. AFP
Former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn held a news conference in Lebanon shortly after his arrival in the country. AFP

A former US special forces soldier has been arrested on charges of helping Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn to flee justice in Japan.

Green Beret Michael Taylor, 59, and his son, Peter, 27, were arrested after the father bought a plane ticket from Boston to Lebanon, federal prosecutors in Massachusetts said.

Mr Ghosn, who has French, Lebanese and Brazilian nationalities, was smuggled out of Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing as chief executive of Nissan.

He fled to Lebanon to avoid a trial, claiming he would not be able to get a fair hearing in Japan.

In January, Tokyo issued arrest warrants for the Taylors and a third man, George-Antoine Zayek, charging them with helping Mr Ghosn to escape from justice.

US legal papers recount the details of Mr Ghosn's escape, including his departure from Japan, reportedly hidden in a large black box on a private jet.

Michael Taylor was arrested when US law enforcement learnt he booked a flight from Boston to Beirut departing on Wednesday, with a layover in London.

He was arrested with his son in Harvard, Massachusetts.

Federal prosecutors asked a judge to order that both men be 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," they said in a court filing.

The home of Michael and Peter Taylor, in Harvard, Massachusetts is behind trees and a private property sign. AFP
The home of Michael and Peter Taylor, in Harvard, Massachusetts is behind trees and a private property sign. AFP

This month, Turkish prosecutors prepared an indictment charging seven people, including four pilots, over Mr Ghosn's escape through Istanbul to Beirut.

Mr Ghosn was awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting earnings, breach of trust and misappropriation of company funds, all of which he denies.

In September, Nissan and Mr Ghosn settled US Securities and Exchange Commission claims over false financial disclosures related to his compensation.

The SEC said Nissan in its financial disclosures omitted more than $140 million (Dh514.2m) to be paid to Mr Ghosn in his retirement.

It also said he engaged in a scheme to conceal more than $90m in compensation.

Updated: May 21, 2020 02:24 AM

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