The U.S. Marshals service arrested a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and his son in Harvard, Massachusetts on Wednesday in response to an extradition request from the government of Japan.
Michael Taylor, 59, and Peter Taylor, 27, are believed by Japanese authorities to have played a crucial role in the daring and imaginative escape of former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn out of Japan just before the year began. The Green Beret and his son have since been charged in connection with that cinematic disappearing act.
Justice Department spokesperson Nicole Navas told Law&Crime the Taylors will appear via videoconference in Boston federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell late Wednesday.
The U.S. and Japan have had an extradition treaty in place since 1980.
Ghosn was arrested in Nov. 2018 on financial crimes and was in custody of Japanese authorities for 108 days. He was released in March 2019 after posting $9 million bail, then re-arrested in April on new charges. He posted $4.5 million bail and restricted from communicating with his wife. On December 29, 2019, he fled the country despite round-the-clock closed-circuit surveillance–apparently by hiding inside an audio equipment case.
According to their extradition complaints, each Taylor visited Japan on at least three occasions leading up to Ghosn’s escape.
“During these visits, Peter Taylor met with Ghosn at least seven times, as reflected in meeting records that Ghosn was required to maintain as a condition of his bail and/or video surveillance camera images,” one of the documents alleges.
“On December 28, 2019, Peter Taylor arrived in Japan and proceede to the Grand Hyatt Tokyo,” the complaint continues. “Hotel records evidence the fact that he checked into Room 933 at approximately 11:49 a.m. A copy of Peter Taylor’s passport was attached to the hotel registration form. After Peter Taylor checked into the hotel, Ghosn arrived at the Grand Hyatt and met with Peter Taylor for approximately one hour.”
The documents also shed substantial light on the official law enforcement theory of Ghosn’s unlawful Nippon-koku departure:
On December 29, 2019–the day of the escape–Michael Taylor and [George-Antoine] Zayek traveled on a private jet from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Kansai International Airport in Japan, as reflected in Japanese immigration records. Michael Taylor and Zayek entered the country transporting two large black boxes, as shown in video camera surveillance images. The black boxes looked like they were for audio equipment, and Michael Taylor and Zayek told Kansai airport workers that they were musicians. Michael Taylor and Zayek landed at Kansai International Airport at approximately 10:10 a.m. and went to the Star Gate Hotel Kansai Airport, where they checked into room 4009 and 4609 at approximately 11:06 a.m., as evidenced by hotel records. The two men brought the two large boxes into Room 4609…
At approximately 2:30 p.m., while Michael Taylor and Zayek were making their way to Tokyo, video surveillance camera images show Ghosn leaving his house with no luggage and walking to the Grand Hyatt Hotel Tokyo. Upon arriving at the hotel, Ghosn went alone to Peter Taylor’s room and changed his clothes. Ghosn’s luggage had been dropped off at the hotel earlier in the day and received by Peter Taylor, as evidenced by video camera surveillance images. Ghosn’s ability to operate the hotel elevator himself indicates Taylor had given him a ropy of the room key the previous day, as a room key was necessary to access guest floors.
About an hour after Ghosn left his house for the Grand Hyatt, the four men allegedly met up and left the hotel together–each carrying luggage, according to the complaint. Peter Taylor eventually separate from the rest of the group and took a flight to China.
The three other men eventually made their way to the Star Gate Hotel at Kansai Airport where surveillance footage showed them entering Room 4609 with their luggage.
“At approximately 9:57 p.m., Michael Taylor and Zayek left Room 4609 with luggage, including the two large boxes, and departed for Kansai International Airport,” the complaint continues. “There is no image of Ghosn leaving Room 4609. Instead, Ghosn was hiding in one of the two large black boxes being carried by Michael Taylor and Zayek.”
The Taylors were arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service’s Special Operations Group and deputies in the District of Massachusetts, according to Navas. The DOJ’s of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts are handling the extradition proceedings.
Each Taylor’s extradition complaint indicates they “would be likely to flee” if made aware of their formally wanted status in Japan.
Read both complaints below:
[image via TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP via Getty Images]
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