Former Green Beret arrested for smuggling former Nissan boss out of Japan

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A screen grab released by the Istanbul Police Department shows Michael Taylor, second right, and George Antoine Zayek at passport control in Istanbul Airport

A screen grab released by the Istanbul Police Department shows Michael Taylor, second right, and George Antoine Zayek at passport control in Istanbul Airport

BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities on Wednesday arrested a former Special Forces soldier and another man wanted by Japan on charges that they enabled the escape of former Nissan Motor Co boss Carlos Ghosn out of the country.

Federal prosecutors in Massachusetts said that former U.S. Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, helped Ghosn last year flee to Lebanon to avoid trial in Japan over alleged financial wrongdoing.

Japan had in January issued arrest warrants for both men along with a third, George-Antoine Zayek, in connection with facilitating the Dec. 29, 2019 escape. The Taylors are scheduled to appear by video conference before a federal judge later on Wednesday.

Lawyers for the men could not be immediately identified.

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn attends a news conference at the Lebanese Press Syndicate in Beirut, Lebanon January 8, 2020.

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn attends a news conference at the Lebanese Press Syndicate in Beirut, Lebanon January 8, 2020.

Ghosn fled to Lebanon, his childhood home, while he was awaiting trial on charges of under-reporting earnings, breach of trust and misappropriation of company funds, all of which he denies.

U.S. legal papers recount the details of Ghosn's escape including his departure from Japan hidden in a large black box aboard a private jet.

The Japanese embassy in Washington and Nissan did not immediately comment on the arrests.

Earlier this month, a lawyer said Turkish prosecutors have prepared an indictment charging seven people, including four pilots and two flight attendants, over Ghosn’s escape via Istanbul to Lebanon after fleeing Japan.

After Japan submitted requests for the men's provisional arrest, the Justice Department obtained arrest warrants on May 6.

U.S. law enforcement learned Peter Taylor had booked a flight from Boston to Beirut departing Wednesday with a layover in London and he was arrested by U.S. marshals as was Michael Taylor.