Americans behind Nissan exec’s brazen escape from Japan face justice

Credit: CBSNews
Credit: CBSNews

▶ Watch Video: Fugitive former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn maintains innocence in CBS interview

Tokyo — The men who masterminded former auto executive Carlos Ghosn dramatic, cinema-worthy escape from Japanese justice were themselves brought back to Japan on Tuesday to face justice for helping him jump bail and avoid trial. A plane’s touch-down at Tokyo’s Narita Airport signaled the end of a nine-month legal battle for former Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son Peter.

The pair were handed over to Japanese authorities in Boston and flown to Japan, where they were rushed from the plane onto a waiting bus, concealed the whole time behind a tarp.

JAPAN-US-NISSAN-GHOSN-TAYLOR
A man believed to be former U.S. Army Green Beret Michael Taylor, who allegedly staged the operation to spirit former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn out of Japan in 2019, is escorted by Japanese officers as he gets on a bus after arriving at Tokyo’s Narita airport, in Japan, March 2, 2021.

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty

Japanese prosecutors say Michael Taylor, 60, and his son Peter, 28, planned and executed the “brazen escape act,” smuggling ex-Nissan chairman Ghosn out of Japan in a speaker case in December 2019. 

Ghosn was charged with financial misconduct, including underreporting $80 million in remuneration, but thanks to the Taylors he was able to make his way from Japan to Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan. He’s still there today. 

Far from any denials, the elder Taylor even recounted the elaborate scheme in detail in a 2020 interview with Vanity Fair


Carlos Ghosn’s great escape

06:23

A security expert whose fees typically ran up to $2 million per job, Taylor said he hadn’t received a dime, beyond expenses, for spiriting Ghosn out of Japan. 

In his unsuccessful attempts to lobby the Trump administration to block extradition, Taylor argued that he would not receive fair treatment in Japan, echoing Ghosn’s claims of a “rigged” justice system.

Japanese media have reported that the Taylors will be held in the same Tokyo detention center where Ghosn was taken after his arrest in 2018.

If found guilty — and Japan has a 99% conviction rate — the Taylors face up to three years in prison.

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