Political News

Two Massachusetts men arrested in plot to smuggle former Nissan chief Ghosn from Japan

Posted May 20, 2020 10:37 a.m. EDT

— Two Massachusetts men accused of helping to smuggle former Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn out of Japan late last year were arrested Wednesday morning in the US, according to court documents.

Michael and Peter Taylor are charged in Japan with enabling Ghosn's escape, and arrest warrants were issued for them and a third man in January. The pair, a father and son from Massachusetts, are due in Boston federal court for an initial appearance later Wednesday.

Details of the brazen extraction, including the use of two "large black boxes," are laid out with cinematic sweep in a complaint that was unsealed on Wednesday after the Taylors' arrest. The status of the third man accused of helping in the escape, George-Antoine Zayek, is unclear.

Peter Taylor had met with Ghosn, who was under strict bail conditions while facing financial crimes in Japan, at least seven times in the months ahead of the escape, according to the documents.

In late December, Peter Taylor flew into Tokyo and met Ghosn at the Grand Hyatt hotel. Meanwhile, Michael Taylor and Zayek flew into Osaka on a private jet from Dubai. The pair carried with them "two large black boxes."

"The black boxes looked like they were for audio equipment, and Michael Taylor and Zayek told Kansai airport workers that they were musicians," the complaint says.

Later, on the afternoon of December 29, the four men rendezvoused at the Tokyo hotel. From there, Peter Taylor went to Narita Airport and boarded a flight to China. The other three, including Ghosn, took a train to Osaka, where they regrouped at a hotel.

At 8:14 p.m., Ghosn, Michael Taylor, and Zayek arrived at the hotel and entered Room 4609. At 9:57 p.m., Taylor and Zayez emerged from the room with luggage, including the two large boxes, and headed towards the airport.

"There is no image of Ghosn leaving Room 4609. Instead, Ghosn was hiding in one of the two large black boxes being carried by Michael Taylor and Zayek," the complaint says.

The baggage passed through a security check at the airport without being screened and was loaded on a private jet that departed for Turkey. Two days later, on December 31, Ghosn publicly announced he had escaped to his home country of Lebanon.

According to a detention memo, law enforcement moved to arrest the Taylors after discovering that Peter Taylor had booked a plane ticket to Lebanon scheduled to depart on May 20.

The Taylors are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

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