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US arrests 2 men in connection to Carlos Ghosn escape

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyer's office in Tokyo on April 3, 2019. [KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images]
Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyer's office in Tokyo on April 3, 2019. [KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images]

US authorities brought two men into custody Wednesday at the request of Japan in response to their alleged roles in helping ex-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn flee to Lebanon, Anadolu reports.

Michael Taylor, 59, and Peter Taylor, 27, were arrested by US Marshals in Harvard, Massachusetts after Japan sought their extradition for allegedly helping Ghosn duck financial misconduct charges he was facing in Japan, Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Navas said in a statement sent to Anadolu Agency.

The Taylors are slated to make an initial appearance via videoconference in a Boston federal court later Wednesday.

Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November on charges of corruption during his tenure as chairman of Japanese automotive titan Nissan.

READ: Turkey charges seven people over Ghosn escape 

He had been released on bail when he disappeared in the east Asian nation in late December before publicly announcing he was in Lebanon. His route to the Middle Eastern nation took him through Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport before he arrived in Beirut, the Lebanese capital.

Ghosn has maintained his innocence and said he fled because he was facing political persecution and could not expect to receive a fair trial.

According to court documents, Peter Taylor traveled to Japan three times starting in July 2019 and met with Ghosn at least seven times. On Dec. 28, the day prior to Ghosn’s escape, he met with the former Nissan executive in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo for roughly an hour.

The following afternoon, Ghosn allegedly went to Taylor’s room, changed clothes, and was later met at the hotel by Michael Taylor and George-Antoine Zayek who traveled to Tokyo after flying to Osaka’s Kansai International Airport with large black boxes that appeared to be for musical equipment. After checking into a hotel in Osaka they took the boxes to Tokyo via train.

After all four men met in a hotel room at the Hyatt on Dec. 29, Peter Taylor left independently of the others and boarded a flight for China, according to court documents.

READ: France’s Macron says he raised concerns with Japan over Ghosn detention 

At that point Ghosn, Michael Taylor and Zayek returned to the hotel room in Osaka, and the criminal complaint maintains that while Taylor and Zayek were seen leaving the hotel room Ghosn was not, and was hiding in one of the two large boxes the men were carrying.

Taylor and Zayek’s luggage passed through a security check without being opened and was loaded on to a private jet that shortly thereafter departed for Turkey, according to the documents, which are based on information provided by Japan.

Ghosn announced he was in Lebanon two days later on Dec. 31.

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Asia & AmericasJapanLebanonMiddle EastNewsUS
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