Details of brash extraction, including the use of two “big black boxes,” were arranged with a cinematic sweep in a complaint that was not sealed on Wednesday after Taylors’ arrest. The status of the third person accused of aiding escape, George-Antoine Zayek, is unclear.
Peter Taylor has met with Ghosn, who is in a state of strict security when facing financial crime in Japan, at least seven times in the months leading up to escape, according to documents.
At the end of December, Peter Taylor flew to Tokyo and met Ghosn at the Grand Hyatt hotel. Meanwhile, Michael Taylor and Zayek flew to Osaka in a private jet from Dubai. The couple brought “two large black boxes.”
“The black box seems to be for audio equipment, and Michael Taylor and Zayek told Kansai airport workers that they are musicians,” the complaint said.
Then, on the afternoon of December 29, the four men met at the Tokyo hotel. From there, Peter Taylor went to Narita Airport and boarded a flight to China. The other three, including Ghosn, took the train to Osaka, where they regrouped at a hotel.
At 8:14 pm, Ghosn, Michael Taylor, and Zayek arrived at the hotel and entered Room 4609. At 9:57 pm, Taylor and Zayez came out of the room with luggage, including two large boxes, and headed for the airport.
“There is no picture of Ghosn leaving Room 4609. Instead, Ghosn is hiding in one of the two large black boxes carried by Michael Taylor and Zayek,” the complaint said.
Baggage passes security checks at the airport without being filtered and loaded with private jets leaving for Turkey. Two days later, on December 31, Ghosn publicly announced that he had fled to his home country, Lebanon.
According to the detention memo, law enforcement moved to arrest Taylors after learning that Peter Taylor had booked a plane ticket to Lebanon scheduled to depart on May 20.
Court documents that revealed the arrest were first highlighted on Twitter by Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the extremism program at George Washington University.
Michael Taylor has participated in bold extractions before. The New York Times hired Taylor after their reporter, David Rohde, was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2008, the newspaper said. In 1999, Taylor was hired by a North Carolina family to return their daughter who had been trapped in Syria with her three children after running away from a cruel husband, according to court documents.
A security company expelled by Taylor from Boston, American International Security Corporation, claimed to have carried out “vulnerability assessments” for dozens of major international airports, according to the archived version of its website.
This story has been updated with additional information about the Taylors family.