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Japan wants 3 Americans arrested over ex-Nissan CEO's brazen escape

Ghosn maintains innocence in CBS interview
Ghosn maintains innocence in CBS interview 04:48

Tokyo — Japanese authorities have issued an arrest warrants for fugitive businessman and former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, as well as three Americans who allegedly planned and executed his dramatic getaway from Japan in December.

Ex-Green Beret Michael Taylor, 59, now a private security consultant, and a man believed to be his 26-year-old son Peter are among those being sought. The third U.S. national wanted in Japan is George-Antoine Hayek, 60.

Japanese media said the younger Taylor met Ghosn a total of six times, starting in July last year. Four of those meetings took place at the office of Ghosn's lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, whose premises have been raided by prosecutors.

Hironaka has claimed he was completely oblivious to the escape plot and has expressed disappointment about his client's decision to flee. But on Friday, he told Japanese media "even if meetings (in my office) did take place, it did not constitute a violation" of Ghosn's bail conditions while was awaiting trial.

The three Americans are suspected of having helped Ghosn, 65, slip away by concealing him in a box that was transported on private jets from Kansai International Airport in western Japan to Istanbul, and then on to Beirut. Japanese authorities haven't said whether they've asked the U.S. — with which Japan does have an extradition treaty — for assistance in tracking down the three suspects. It wasn't clear Friday where they were.

Carlos Ghosn's great escape 06:23

An article published on Yahoo Japan cited testimony from an unnamed taxi driver, who reportedly told police he drove Hayek from Tokyo's Narita Airport to the Roppongi Grand Hyatt on December 28, just before the escape. He recalled Hayek was immersed in a phone conversation during the entire one-hour journey, and then asked for a ride back to Narita airport the following day, which the driver found odd.

A few days later, Tokyo police took possession of the taxi's interior dash-cam recorder.

Now in Beirut, Ghosn has bashed Japan for what he calls its "hostage justice" system. Facing charges in Japan of misusing corporate funds and underreporting his income, he appears for now to be beyond the reach of Japanese authorities as there is no Japan-Lebanon extradition agreement.

Ghosn's alleged American accomplices, if ever extradited back to Japan, face a maximum penalty of three years in prison or 300,000 yen ($2,751) in fines if convicted of helping the fugitive flee.

Ghosn spoke to CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata in Beirut earlier this month, but he refused to divulge any details of his escape - or who helped him make it.

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