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U.S. arrests 2 men accused of aiding ex-Nissan boss’ escape

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. authorities on Wednesday arrested a former Green Beret and his son who are accused of helping former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn flee Japan while he awaited trial on financial misconduct charges.

Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas said Michael Taylor, 59, and Peter Taylor, 27, were arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Harvard, Massachusetts.

The two Americans are wanted by Japan officials on charges that they helped Ghosn escape the country in December after the former Nissan boss was released on bail.

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Ghosn said he fled because he could not expect a fair trial, was subjected to unfair conditions in detention and was barred from meeting his wife under his bail conditions.

Ghosn has said he is innocent of allegations he under-reported his future income and committed a breach of trust by diverting Nissan money for his personal gain. He says the compensation was never decided on or received, and that the Nissan payments were for legitimate business purposes.

Michael Taylor flew into Japan on a private jet from the United Arab Emirates with another man, George-Antoine Zayek, and they brought two large black boxes with them and claimed to be musicians carrying audio equipment, according to court papers. They helped Ghosn escape to the airport by hiding him in one of the boxes, the documents say. Japanese officials had also issued a provisional warrant for Zayek’s arrest.

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The men arrived at Japan’s Kansai International Airport with luggage that included the two large boxes, and Ghosn was inside one of them, court papers said. The luggage passed through a security checkpoint without being checked and was loaded onto a private jet headed for Turkey, the documents say. Two days later, Ghosn announced publicly he was in Lebanon.

Peter Taylor had traveled to Japan at least three times since July 2019 and met with Ghosn at least seven times during those visits, according to court records.

The Taylors were expected to appear before a judge via videoconference later Wednesday. There were no lawyers listed for them in court documents.

Richer reported from West Harwich, Massachusetts.

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