Ex-Green Beret begs Japanese judges to let him return to US to see his disabled father and says he regrets smuggling fugitive Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn out of country in a speaker box

 A former Green Beret today begged Japanese judges to allow him to return to the U.S. to see his disabled father and told a Tokyo court he regrets smuggling fugitive Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn out of Japan in a speaker box.

Michael Taylor, 60, and his 28-year-old son Peter Taylor were extradited by US authorities after being accused of orchestrating Ghosn's audacious escape while awaiting trial in Japan. 

Flanked by two guards, Michael Taylor, who was brought handcuffed into court with his son, bowed deeply to the three judges that will decide their sentence before asking them to allow him to return to the US to see his father, who is disabled. 

The US Army Special Forces veteran said he regretted helping Ghosn flee Japan and said the former Nissan chairman should have stayed to face trial for alleged financial misconduct.   

Michael Taylor and his son Peter (both pictured), have admitted smuggling fugitive Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn out of Japan in a speaker box

Michael Taylor and his son Peter (both pictured), have admitted smuggling fugitive Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn out of Japan in a speaker box

Michael Taylor told the Tokyo court on Tuesday he regrets smuggling fugitive Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn (pictured) out of Japan in a speaker box

Michael Taylor told the Tokyo court on Tuesday he regrets smuggling fugitive Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn (pictured) out of Japan in a speaker box


'I deeply regret my actions and sincerely apologize for causing difficulties for the judicial system and for the Japanese people,' he said in a quavering voice.

He replied yes when the prosecutor asked whether he believed Ghosn should have stayed in Japan.

Michael Taylor and his son Peter this month pleaded guilty to charges that, in December 2019, they illegally helped Ghosn escape from western Japan's Kansai airport hidden in a speaker box aboard a private jet to Lebanon. 

Extradited to Japan from the United States in March, they are being detained at the same jail in Tokyo where Ghosn had been held, and face up to three years in prison.           

Meanwhile Ghosn is currently an international fugitive living in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.   

Prosecutors said the Taylors received $1.3 million for their services and another $500,000 for legal fees.

Michael Taylor and his son Peter this month pleaded guilty to charges that, in December 2019, they illegally helped Ghosn escape from western Japan's Kansai airport hidden in a speaker box (pictured) aboard a private jet to Lebanon

Michael Taylor and his son Peter this month pleaded guilty to charges that, in December 2019, they illegally helped Ghosn escape from western Japan's Kansai airport hidden in a speaker box (pictured) aboard a private jet to Lebanon 

US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor (right with his son Peter when he was much younger) said said he regretted helping Ghosn flee Japan and said the former Nissan chairman should have stayed to face trial for alleged financial misconduct.

US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor (right with his son Peter when he was much younger) said said he regretted helping Ghosn flee Japan and said the former Nissan chairman should have stayed to face trial for alleged financial misconduct. 

The Asahi Shimbun daily said the pair spent most of the money on preparations for the escape, including the costs of chartering a private jet, claiming that they were not paid for their help. 

Michael Taylor, a private security specialist who in the past was hired by parents to rescue abducted children, on Tuesday said a cousin of Ghosn, who is his wife's sister in law, helped persuade him to take the job. 

He also said he felt sympathy for Ghosn and his wife Carole after they told him that Ghosn could be held in Japan for up to 15 years.

The couple, he said, told him jumping bail in Japan was not a crime.

The Taylors' lawyers in the United States waged a months-long battle to prevent their extradition, arguing they could not be prosecuted for helping someone 'bail jump' and that they could face relentless interrogation and torture. 

But the Massachusetts men, who had been locked up at a suburban Boston jail since their arrest in May, had failed to convince US officials and courts to block their extradition to Japan. 


Suspects in Japan are interrogated without their lawyers present and are often denied bail before trial.

When asked by prosecutors if he had been treated badly in Japan, Taylor said the prosecutor who questioned him after his arrest was 'respectable and honourable'.

At the time of his escape, Ghosn was out on bail while awaiting trial on charges, which he denies, that he understated his compensation in Nissan's financial statements by 9.3 billion yen ($84 million) over a decade and enriched himself at his employer's expense through payments to car dealerships.

He managed to slip past authorities onto a private jet, transit in Turkey and land in Lebanon.     

The escape was hugely embarrassing for Japanese authorities, who termed it 'one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history'.


An image from security camera video shows Taylor, center, and George-Antoine Zayek at passport control at Istanbul Airport in Turkey in December 2019

An image from security camera video shows Taylor, center, and George-Antoine Zayek at passport control at Istanbul Airport in Turkey in December 2019

This graphic shows details of Carlos Ghosn's escape from Japan in December 2019

This graphic shows details of Carlos Ghosn's escape from Japan in December 2019 

On the day of the escape, Michael Taylor flew into Osaka on a chartered jet with another man, George-Antoine Zayek, carrying two large black boxes and pretending to be musicians with audio equipment, authorities said. 

Meanwhile, Ghosn, who was free on bail, headed to the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo and met up with Peter Taylor, who was already in Japan, authorities say.

The elder Taylor and Zayek met up with the two others at the Grand Hyatt and shortly after, they split up. 

Peter Taylor hopped on a flight to China while the others got on a bullet train and went back to another hotel near the airport where Taylor and Zayek had booked a room. They all went in; only Ghosn's rescuers were seen walking out.

Authorities say Ghosn was inside one of the big black boxes. At the airport, the boxes passed through a security checkpoint without being checked and were loaded onto a private jet headed for Turkey, officials said.

Ghosn denies wrongdoing and remains a fugitive in his childhood home, Lebanon, where he was questioned last month by French investigators over a series of alleged financial improprieties. 

Among the allegations are improper financial interactions with Renault-Nissan's distributor in Oman, payments by a Dutch subsidiary to consultants and lavish parties organised at the Palace of Versailles. 

The questioning took place with his defence team and a Lebanese prosecutor present. Ghosn was heard as a witness as he would need to be in France to be formally indicted. 

Others involved in the Ghosn case have faced legal proceedings, including his former aide at Nissan, Greg Kelly, who is also on trial in Tokyo for his alleged role in underreporting the tycoon's income. He also denies the charges.  

Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive charged with helping Ghosn hide his compensation, is also standing trial in Tokyo. He also denies the charges.   

And a Turkish court has sentenced two pilots and another employee of a small private airline to four years and two months in prison for their role in Ghosn's escape.

Ghosn switched planes in Turkey on his way to Lebanon, and the three Turks were charged with involvement in a conspiracy to smuggle a migrant.

Over the years, Michael Taylor has been hired by parents to rescue abducted children, gone undercover for the FBI in a sting on a Massachusetts drug gang and worked as a contractor for the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. And this isn't the first time he has found himself in legal trouble.

In 2012, federal prosecutors alleged Taylor had won a US military contract to train Afghan soldiers by using secret information passed along from an American officer. 

When Taylor learned the contract was being investigated, he asked an FBI agent and friend to intervene, prosecutors charged. Taylor spent 14 months in jail before agreeing to plead guilty to two counts.

Ex-Green Beret begs Japanese judges to let him return to US to see his disabled father and says he regrets smuggling fugitive Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn out of country in a speaker box Ex-Green Beret begs Japanese judges to let him return to US to see his disabled father and says he regrets smuggling fugitive Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn out of country in a speaker box Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:52 Rating: 5

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