While former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn refused to provide details of his escape, Turkey’s state news agency published photographs of two men accused of helping the fugitive. On January 15, security camera images were made public for the first time which showed two persons, Michael Taylor and George Antoine Zayek, at passport control in Istanbul airport.
A Japanese news channel had reported that Ghosn boarded a bullet train from Tokyo's Shinagawa station on December 29 and got off at a station in western Osaka. The 65-year-old executive took a taxi to a hotel near Kansai airport and availed a private jet to Istanbul. It is believed that the business tycoon switched planes and travelled to Beirut.
According to media reports, Taylor and Zayek accompanied the fugitive business tycoon from Japan to Turkey and landed at the smaller Ataturk airport. After travelling across the city to Istanbul airport, the duo then reportedly helped Ghosn to take a separate flight for Beirut. A global daily claimed that Taylor has served as a US special forces operative and now working as a private security contractor.
Japanese tax officials had found out that the former Nissan executive diverted corporate money for his private use. The National Tax Agency of Japan had reached the conclusion that Ghosn made donations to a Lebanese University and paid consultant’s fees to his sister using Nissan money. The tax agency had ordered Nissan to pay taxes on the 150 million yen, which was recorded as office expenses for three years since they determined that money was spent for private purpose.
Ghosn was awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges and was not allowed to contact his wife but she reportedly played an important role in planning his escape. The former executive claimed that he had to leave Japan because of “injustice and political persecution”. On December 30, Ghosn was smuggled out from house arrest and reportedly met Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun and had a warm interaction.