Two men, a former Green Beret and his son, have been arrested by U.S. authorities on charges of assisting former Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance boss Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan last December.
Michael L. Taylor and his son, Peter Maxwell Taylor, are the latest to be arrested in connection with Ghosn’s startling escape from home detention in Tokyo during the end-of-year holidays. The once high-flying executive was awaiting trial on a series of financial corruption allegations. Seven others were arrested earlier this month in Turkey.
The two suspects are scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Boston on Wednesday afternoon and prosecutors have indicated they will oppose bail, referring to the father and son as “exceptionally high flight risks.”
Both eventually could be extradited to Japan where authorities have issued a number of arrest warrants targeting those they believe to have been involved in Ghosn’s bold escape which took him from Japan to Turkey and then to Lebanon, his families ancestral home.
Ghosn’s wife Carole is among others for whom Tokyo has issued an arrest warrant.
Carlos Ghosn was arrested in November 2018, shortly after his corporate jet landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. He and an associate were escorted off the plane and sent to the city’s detention center, Ghosn initially charged with concealing millions of dollars in income from Nissan, one of the three automakers he oversaw.
In the months after, prosecutors repeatedly announced new charges, a move that allowed them to continue holding the executive in a tiny, unheated cell. Ultimately, Ghosn spent 130 days in detention before being released on bail. He was then subject to strict guidelines, among other things limiting his access to family members and allowing him to go on the Internet only at his lawyer’s office.
While in Japan, Ghosn repeatedly expressed his concerns about getting a fair trial and accused various Nissan officials of using the allegations as a “coup” to oust him.
Then, in a surprise move that generated headlines around the world, the Brazilian-born Ghosn suddenly appeared in Lebanon, triggering widespread speculation about how he had escaped the watchful eyes of Japanese authorities.
It was eventually revealed he was snuck out of his Tokyo apartment and onto an jet chartered from a Turkish company and eventually flown to Lebanon. That country, which had long seen Ghosn as a hero – even issuing a stamp with his likeness on it – has resisted pressure to extradite Ghosn to Japan.
But those who assisted in his escape may not be so lucky. Along with former Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son, authorities in Turkey earlier this month arrested seven others – including four pilots and two flight attendants – in Turkey for assisting in Ghosn’s escape from Japan. Another employee of a Turkish airline was arrested earlier this year.
For his own part, Ghosn has not commented on the arrests but did last month promise to have more to say about his own criminal case, the former Alliance boss also revealing that he has a book in progress.
As for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance itself, the original arrest of its chief executive triggered significant internal turmoil that had many observers questioning whether it would survive. The situation has been complicated by the severe financial problems facing Nissan, the largest of the three automakers.
In January of this year, the partners announced they would hold the alliance together. They now plan to stage a joint press conference on May 27 during which industry observers expect to hear about a new strategic plan to deepen their ties.