Man With Connections to Groton & Ayer Arrested on Japanese Warrant
Thu, 06/11/2020 - 4:20pm Heraldgroton
International Intrigue: Harvard Man & His Son With Ties To Groton & Ayer Arrested by Federal Marshalls On Japanese Warrant; Prosecuters Pursue Extradition; Defense Seeks To Nullify Arrest
by Robert Stewart
In a surprising development, Federal Marshals arrested a Harvard man at his home on May 20 on a Japanese warrant that accuses him of arranging the escape of a top corporate Japanese CEO out of the country to avoid prosecution on financial fraud.
The arrest builds on the intrigue and mystique surrounding Michael Taylor, a 56-year-old man from Harvard, with connections in Groton and Ayer, who has been described by neighbors as a good family man, by the FBI as a necessary evil who works on the outskirts of the law, by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a criminal and by friends and colleagues as a patriotic citizen.
Taylor is accused by Japanese police of arranging and carrying out an extraordinary plan that allowed Carlos Goshn, the CEO of Nissan Corp., to escape from Japan while awaiting trial for financial misconduct.
Goshn was not confined and was free on bail when the escape occurred on Dec. 29, 2019. The alleged financial misconduct of Goshn primarily surrounds corporate negotiations involving a merger between Nissan Corp. and Renault Corp. in France, another automaker. Some observers and reports in the media suggest that the negotiations might allow Renault to become the majority stockholder and such a development would be unthinkable and unacceptable to Japanese culture. According to these media reports, Goshn believed he could not get a fair trial in Japan.
In such an environment, Taylor, who is a former Green Beret and has an extensive background as an international operative, became involved and successfully executed the plan that allowed Goshn to flee Japan.
Taylor’s background is so complex and varied that it defies any simple characterization. Locally, Taylor coached the varsity football team at Lawrence Academy for several years before resigning amid controversy in 2011. He also coached Pop Warner football in Ayer.
Taylor founded his own security company that initially did private investigations. However, over time, the caseload of Taylor’s security firm grew significantly as a result of corporate work and unofficial referrals from the U.S. State Department and the FBI.
Taylor’s work ranged from being hired by parents to rescue abducted children to working undercover for the FBI. His undercover work for the FBI allegedly included a sting operation against a Massachusetts drug gang.
Taylor allegedly has been on both sides of the law and drew negative attention from the State Police in 1993 when one trooper allegedly was told to stop investigating Taylor’s financial activity because he was a prized FBI informant.
Taylor’s alleged plan to enable the escape of Goshn from Japan involved some creative maneuvers that resemble Hollywood movie plots. According to one media account, Taylor and his son Peter allegedly studied airport security procedures in Tokyo and nearby airports.
According to this report, the Taylors chose Osaka’s Kansai airport as the best place to smuggle Goshn out of Japan. The x-ray machine used to scan baggage at Osaka’s airport was limited and could not accommodate very large luggage containers. The Taylors obtained two large luggage containers that appeared to hold audio equipment for musicians. They drilled holes in one box for airholes and Goshn allegedly hid in that box to go through security.
The Taylors with Goshn hidden inside the box passed through security and boarded a private jet to Istanbul. A couple of days later, Goshn made his way to Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Taylor’s arrest could be short-lived as his attorney, former U. S. Attorney Prosecutor Paul Kelly, filed a motion in court on June 8 to quash the arrest. Japan is seeking extradition of Taylor under a 1980 treaty between the U.S. and Japan.
According to a story in the Boston Globe, the court must decide whether there is probable cause to believe the Taylors committed the crimes they are accused of. If the courts find probable cause that the Taylors committed the crimes, the decision to extradite them to Japan would rest with the U.S. Secretary of State.
Kelly’s motion to quash the arrest asserts there is no probable cause because the charges of enabling the escape of Goshn by violating conditions of his bail is not a punishable crime in Japan. “Bail jumping” (as it is called) is not a criminal offense under Japanese Penal Code according to Kelly’s motion.
To support his motion, Kelly filed numerous documents from Japanese legal experts, dozens of Japanese court decisions relevant to jumping bail and several media reports in Japan that blame the Japanese justice system for overlooking such a shortcoming in the law.
One Japanese media report from the The Asahi Shimbun carried the headline, “Goshn With the Wind: Ministry to Tighten Laws to Nix Bail Jumps.” The lead paragraphs stated, “The clandestine escape from Japan by Carlos Goshn was a factor in a decision by the Justice Ministry to accelerate efforts to prevent bail jumping by making it easier to investigate and charge escapees...It was an embarrassing cap to a string of bail-jumping incidents last year in Osaka and Kanagawa prefectures.”
The Taylors are being held at Norfolk County Correctional Center in Dedham without bail. Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office have argued against bail because the Taylors are a flight risk. The court has not scheduled a hearing to review bail conditions. It is also unknown when the courts will rule on Kelly’s motion to quash the arrest.
Editor’s Note. This story was compiled from various media reports including the Boston Globe, BostonGlobe.com, the Harvard Press, The Wall Street Journal, WCVB TV and email correspondence with Mr. Taylor’s attorney.
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