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Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn escaped Japan by hiding in a music instrument crate. Now 3 men are wanted in connection with his daring break out.

Foto: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn.

  • Ex-Nissan executive turned fugitive Carlos Ghosn fled from Japan by hiding in a musical instrument case that was too big for airport scanners. He is now in Lebanon, a country that doesn’t have an extradition agreement with Japan.
  • Prosecutors on Thursday issued arrest warrants for three men believed to have helped him plan the escape and see it through. One of those men is a former Green Beret.
  • Ghosn faced up to 15 years in prison on charges of financial misconduct but characterized bolting from Japan as his attempt to flee injustice in a country that has a high criminal conviction rate.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn gave Japanese immigration officers the slip in December by hiding inside a musical instrument case, according to prosecutors.

A court on Thursday issued three arrest warrants for men who they believe were Ghosn’s accomplices and helped him plan the daring escape, the Wall Street Journal reported. The suspects are former Green Beret Michael Taylor, 59, his son Peter Taylor, 26, and George Zayek, 60, a Lebanese-born US citizen. The trio is suspected of violating Japans‘ immigration laws, according to a statement issued by Takahiro Saito, a deputy chief prosecutor in Tokyo.

On Dec. 29, Ghosn stashed himself in a crate that’s used to transport musical instruments but was too big for the baggage scanners at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport. Once in the clear, he boarded a private jet, Saito said. These findings confirm what has previously been reported by Business Insider.

Ghosn changed clothes in a hotel room that was booked in Peter Taylor’s name en route to the airport

According to the Wall Street Journal, Thursday marks the first time prosecutors have shared details about the involvement of Peter Taylor, who traveled to Japan four times in mid-2019, meeting Ghosn each time at his lawyer’s office in Tokyo. Taylor and Ghosn also met twice in December. Although prosecutors did not share where the final two meetings occurred, they believe their purpose was to help the pair lay out the plans of Ghosn’s escape.

The last time the duo met was on Dec. 28 – one day before Ghosn fled, Saito said. It was then that Taylor passed a hotel room key to Ghosn. The next day, Ghosn traveled from his Tokyo house to the local hotel and entered the room that was reserved in Taylor’s name, prosecutors said. He switched outfits and headed to Osaka.

Saito said that Michael Taylor and Zayek were with Ghosn when he got to Kansai airport, and boarded the jet with him. He didn’t specify what Peter Taylor did after his initial assistance.

Once he had evaded immigration officers by hiding in oversized luggage, the former auto executive flew to Turkey and then to Lebanon, which is his childhood home. Lebanon doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan.

‚They came in large numbers and forced their way in‘

Ghosn faced up to 15 years in prison on charges of financial misconduct. He had already spent 130 days in jail at two separate times and was freed on bail in April 2019. Although allowed to travel within Japan, he wasn’t allowed to leave the country, prosecutors said.

Officers conducted a raid on Wednesday at the office of Junichiro Hironaka, Ghosn’s former lawyer, Saito said. The goal was to find evidence against Peter Taylor, but he didn’t specify what they uncovered.

„They came in large numbers and forced their way in. They came with people who could pick locks, and the areas that they couldn’t pick open, they broke,“ Hironaka said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ghosn has long maintained his innocence and cited Japan’s 99% criminal conviction rate to cast his escape as a way to flee injustice since he believed he wouldn’t be granted a fair trial in Japan.

Saito said his office, which typically doesn’t announce the issuance of arrest warrants, made an exception in the case of the alleged Ghosn collaborators to make clear its view that the escape was a crime and Mr. Ghosn should have stayed in Japan to face trial.

Read more:

Carlos Ghosn’s wealth and power made it ‚easy for him to flee‘ Japan, prosecutors say. Meet Nissan’s disgraced former chairman, who reportedly escaped to Lebanon by stowing away in a box for musical instruments.

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