TOKYO -- Tokyo prosecutors have a new arrest warrant out for Carlos Ghosn, this time for jumping bail and leaving the country illegally, exacerbating the fallen auto titan's legal woes.
Prosecutors said on Thursday that they also obtained a warrant for three Americans they say helped the indicted former Nissan chairman escape Japan at the end of December and flee to Lebanon.
Prosecutors are alleging Ghosn and the Americans departed the country illegally, under Japan's Immigration Control Law, for failing to go through immigration control. They additionally charge the Americans with violating the law by conspiring to hide a suspect.
Prosecutors identified Ghosn's alleged accomplices as Michael Taylor, 59; Peter Maxwell Taylor, 26; and George Zeyek, 60. Michael Taylor is a former U.S. Green Beret special forces soldier and Zayek is a former Christian militia fighter from Lebanon, media reports have said.
Ghosn, 65, has been largely quiet on the details of his escape. But Japanese authorities, after piecing together video surveillance footage, believe that he left his court-approved home on Dec. 29, met the American security experts, took the train to Osaka and flew to Turkey on a private jet.
From there, Ghosn is believed to have boarded another plane to his ancestral homeland of Lebanon, where he is relatively safe because the country has no extradition treaty with Japan.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Ghosn was smuggled through a checkpoint at Kansai International Airport near Osaka in an oversized packing case for audio equipment.
Prosecutors largely echoed that scenario in their arrest warrant. They said the three Americans met Ghosn at a downtown Tokyo hotel, where he changed his clothes and prepared for the trip to Osaka. They provided protection to Ghosn as he rode the train, they alleged.
In Osaka, the conspirators packed Ghosn into a case and put him on a private plane that departed around 11:00pm, according to the prosecutors' account. The Americans boarded with him, they alleged, thereby also skipping immigration control and violating the law.
Japanese authorities have told local media they have surveillance camera footage of Ghosn and his handlers entering a hotel near the airport. Later, the men emerge with the box, but no Ghosn.
The latest arrest warrant comes on top of four indictments already leveled against Ghosn, for alleged financial misconduct during his time at the helm of Japan's No. 2 automaker.
It also follows an arrest warrant obtained by Tokyo prosecutors earlier this month for Ghosn's wife, Carole Ghosn, for allegedly giving false testimony in court last April.
The new maneuvering unfolds as the Tokyo prosecutors seek Ghosn's extradition from Lebanon to stand trial. The case had been scheduled to head to court as early as this spring.