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Report: Former Green Beret arrested for helping ex-Nissan CEO flee trial in Japan

U.S. Marshals (U.S. Air Force/Released)
May 20, 2020

U.S. authorities arrested a former Green Beret and his son for helping Nissan Motor Company CEO chief Carlos Ghosn flee Japan and escape trial for financial crimes, according to Reuters.

Japan issued arrest warrants in January for the veteran, Michael Taylor, and his son, Peter Taylor, who are accused of helping Ghosn to Lebanon on Dec. 29, 2019. The U.S. Department of Justice secured arrest warrants for the pair on May 6.

Peter Taylor was arrested by U.S. marshals on Wednesday before departing on a booked flight from Boston to Beirut. Michael Taylor was also arrested Wednesday.

The two are set to appear before a federal judge on Wednesday via video conference.

Ghosn was facing trial in Japan on trials of misusing company funds, underreporting $84 million in company earnings, and breach of trust, though he has denied the charges.

Court documents say the Taylors helped Ghosn escape on a private jet by hiding him in a large black box typically used for transporting audio equipment.

Michael Taylor is a career security operative who has carried out risky overseas rescues before, along with other missions.

He previously rescued a New York Times reporter who was held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan. He also worked alongside the U.S. government to rescue kidnapped children overseas.

“I learned about Carlos Ghosn’s plight, and felt very much like him, in the sense that we were both held hostage in an unfair legal system,” Michael Taylor told The Wall Street Journal in January, referring to his own previous legal battles.

At the time, Michael Taylor did not discuss his involvement in Ghosn’s escape, or what compensation he earned from the mission.

In 2015, Michael Taylor was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison for his role as a co-conspirator in a Department of Defense bid-rigging scheme. He owned American International Security Corporation – a now-defunct company he’d founded in 1994 – and was accused of paying cash kickbacks to secure $54 million in DOD contracts.

His 24-month sentence came from a plea deal he said he made after spending 14 “brutal” months held in pre-trial confinement in a Utah county jail. He had faced up to 20 years in prison for the charge of wire fraud, and five years for procurement violation.

He had numerous other run-ins with the feds, but has mostly avoided jail time by cooperating with authorities.