A former Green Beret turned international security consultant and his son face a hearing this afternoon on the government's request to hold them without bail until they can be sent to Japan, where they face charges for allegedly smuggling the ousted Nissan CEO out of the country by hiding him in a large black box.
FBI agents arrested Michael Taylor and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor this morning, not long before Peter Taylor, the son, was scheduled to fly out of Logan to Lebanon, where Carlos Ghosn now lives, after allegedly fleeing Japan with the Taylors' help last December.
The pair have a scheduled 3:30 p.m. bail hearing in US District Court in Boston on whether they should be held pending formal receipt of an extradition request from Tokyo District Court.
According to the federal complaints against the two, Peter Taylor flew to Japan several times in 2019 to meet with Ghosn to help plan his escape following his arrest and bail on charges of financial crimes related to his role as CEO of Nissan.
On Dec. 29, the feds say, Michael Taylor and a third man, George Zayek, flew into Osaka on a private jet from Dubai, with "two large black boxes," which they told airport workers were for the audio equipment they used as musicians. After leaving the boxes in a hotel room, they took a train to Tokyo, where Peter Taylor had rented a room in the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Ghosn met them there and then, with Michael leaving for the Tokyo airport for a flight to China,
Ghosn, Michael Taylor and the third guy took a train to Osaka and went to the Taylor hotel room there, where Ghosn allegedly got into one of the boxes.
Michael Taylor and Zayek arrived at Kansai International Airport at approximately 10:20 p.m., with luggage, including the two black boxes, one of which contained Ghosn. Once at the airport, their baggage passed through the security check without being screened and was loaded onto a private jet. The two men boarded the private jet with the large boxes and departed for Turkey at approximately 11:10 p.m. Two days later, on December 31, 2019, Ghosn made a public announcement that he was in Lebanon.
The FBI explained why it arrested the pair today:
U.S. law enforcement subsequently discovered that Peter Taylor had booked a flight from Boston to Beirut, Lebanon—the same place to which Ghosn fled - departing on May 20, 2020, with a layover in London, United Kingdom. Peter Taylor was arrested on May 20, 2020, and he is currently in the custody of the United States Marshals Service.
The US Attorney's office explains why it wants MichaelTaylor held without bail - it made a similar request for his son:
Michael Taylor is not just capable of fleeing while on bond—he is an expert in the subject. According to publicly available information, Michael Taylor founded the company American International Security Corp. and he has facilitated the extractions of other individuals. The plot to spirit Ghosn out of Japan was one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history, involving a dizzying array of hotel meetups, bullet train travel, fake personas, and the chartering of a private jet. Ultimately, Ghosn was hidden in a large black box and whisked out of Japan in the private jet without detection by Japanese authorities. Ghosn now resides in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan, and thus he has been able to evade justice. Michael Taylor cannot overcome the presumption that he would be willing to go to even greater lengths to avoid facing justice in Japan himself.
In facilitating Ghosn’s escape, Michael Taylor demonstrated not only his expertise in coordinating complex plans to avoid detection by law enforcement, but also exhibited his complete disregard for the bond conditions that Japan imposed on Ghosn. Michael Taylor cannot overcome the presumption that he would similarly ignore any release conditions that this court might fashion as to him.
Michael Taylor has a history of travel to countries that have no extradition treaty with either the United States or Japan, including the United Arab Emirates, where he went after Ghosn’s escape and before he returned to the United States. Michael Taylor cannot overcome the presumption that he would return to the United Arab Emirates, or travel to yet another location, in order to avoid justice.