Prosecutors say Carlos Ghosn wired money to alleged escape mastermind

Carlos Ghosn made $862,000 in wire payments to a company linked to the family of the former US Green Beret under arrest for his alleged role in helping the ex-Nissan boss flee Japan, according to documents submitted to a US court.

The money transfers were allegedly made two months before Mr Ghosn escaped from Tokyo to Beirut last December — a plot that involved a bullet train ride across Japan, two private jet flights and a specially converted music equipment box.

The documents submitted to the court appear to provide the first concrete link between the former executive and the alleged orchestrators of his getaway. They also mark the first time since Mr Ghosn’s escape that any financial value has been placed on the cost of the operation, though security experts believe the full price would have been significantly higher. 

The court documents suggest that two wire transfers were made last October from an account in Paris that US prosecutors allege were linked to Mr Ghosn to Promote Fox, a company that was managed by Peter Taylor and his brother Oliver.

Mr Ghosn’s escape from Japan took place several months before he was due to stand trial on charges of financial misconduct — allegations he has consistently denied but which triggered his downfall from the head of what was then the world’s largest automotive alliance.

Representatives for Mr Ghosn could not immediately be reached for comment.

The alleged masterminds of the escape, Michael Taylor, 59, and his 27-year-old son Peter, were arrested in Boston in May. They are fighting a request for their transfer from the US, which is one of the few countries with which Japan has an extradition treaty.

US prosecutors presented the evidence on Tuesday as part of their argument that the Taylors should remain detained since they pose flight risks given the financial resources they have. 

Lawyers for the two men declined to comment on the documents. They have argued against Japan’s extradition request and asked that their clients be released on bail, claiming that “jumping bail” is not technically a crime in Japan.

The plot to spirit Mr Ghosn from his house in central Tokyo continues to have severe consequences for those involved.

Last week, a court in Istanbul ordered the release of five airline personnel involved in the private jet flights between Japan and Turkey following their first court appearance in an ongoing trial. All seven individuals standing trial have denied the charges against them.