Japan issues arrest warrants for Carlos Ghosn—and the ex-Green Beret accused of helping him escape

January 30, 2020, 12:05 PM UTC

Prosecutors in Tokyo issued a fresh warrant on Thursday for the arrest of ex-Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who jumped bail and fled the country last month to escape trial for alleged financial crimes.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office issued the warrant on Ghosn for illegally departing Japan, where the former auto executive was charged with failing to fully report his compensation and using company money for personal gain.

Ghosn, 65, who made his way in a private jet to Lebanon at the end of December, held a news conference the week after he arrived, lashing out at Japan’s prosecutors for what he called a “rigged” criminal justice system. The Justice Ministry has pushed back, issuing government statements and using news conferences and interviews to defend the country.

“Without obtaining permission to travel abroad, suspect Ghosn boarded a private jet at Kansai International Airport at around 11 p.m. on Dec. 29, with the intent of traveling to Lebanon via Turkey, illegally leaving the country,” prosecutors said in the statement.

Prosecutors also issued a warrant for the arrest of American Michael Taylor, 59, a former U.S. Green Beret special forces soldier, and George-Antoine Zayek, 60, a former Christian militia fighter from Lebanon, for allegedly aiding Ghosn’s escape. They are also seeking the arrest of a newly identified suspect thought to have aided Ghosn, Peter Maxwell Taylor, 26.

The three are suspected of helping Ghosn in making his way to a Tokyo hotel, and then to the airport and onto the plane using various methods to prevent him from being detected, prosecutors said in their statement.

Earlier this month, prosecutors also issued an arrest warrant for Carole Ghosn, the fugitive executive’s wife, for allegedly giving false testimony in court last April.

The former Nissan chair is believed to have left Japan apparently concealed in an equipment case aboard a charter jet bound for Turkey en route to Lebanon, where Carlos Ghosn holds citizenship. Ghosn has maintained his innocence and defended his decision to flee Japan, saying that he couldn’t get a fair trial in the country.

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