As a James Jones-directed documentary series living up to its title in every way imaginable, Apple TV+’s ‘Wanted: The Escape Of Carlos Ghosn’ can only be described as utterly intriguing. That’s because it comprises not just archival footage but also exclusive interviews to really underscore the verity behind the rise and fall of this titular former automotive industry executive. So amongst those to thus extensively feature in this original to help navigate the same was none other than Michael Taylor — and if you wish to learn more about him, here’s what we know.
Who is Michael Taylor?
If there’s one thing nobody can deny, it’s that Michael Taylor is a man of many hats, with the most significant being he was a US Forces Green Beret member until his honorable discharge in 1983. From what we can tell, this Ayer, Massachusetts, native then moved on to work in the private securities sector, where he was often called upon to extract individuals from high-risk situations. It hence comes as no surprise he was later hired by the federal authorities for some undercover work as well, only to ultimately evolve into a head football coach at Lawrence Academy in Groton.
However, the truth is trouble also seemed to follow Michael wherever he went, and it started while he was dabbling as an undercover informant as well as a freelance Private Investigator (PI). That’s because he was soon arrested on several felony wiretapping and related charges once an official noticed he was engaging in illegal activities going way beyond his realm of authority. Moreover, in 1999, he reportedly pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts related to him planting marijuana in the car of a client’s estranged wife before persuading local officers to arrest her.
Michael then found himself caught up in a federal investigation concerning a trucking-related shakedown in the early 2000s, just to cooperate with investigators and never get charged. Yet he was formally indicted in the early 2010s once it came to light he’d illicitly obtained Department of Defense contracts in Afghanistan worth $54 million — he thus pled to one count of violating the federal Procurement Integrity Act plus one count of wire fraud. Regardless, many maintain he’s so loyal that if you’re ever in trouble and he’s empathetic to your cause, he’ll go above and beyond to help you out, which is precisely what he did for Carlos Ghosn.
According to court documents as well as the documentary series, it was Michael who essentially masterminded Carlos’ entire December 29, 2019, escape from Japan while he was out on bail. The former was actually baffled to hear he was placed in solitary confinement for over 100 days and that one of the stipulations for his several million-dollar bond was to have no contact with his wife. Therefore, with his partner being a distant relative of the Ghosn family, he managed to establish communication to ensure he could help the once renowned Renault and Nissan CEO-Chairman flee the nation where he believed there would be no fair trial.
Where is Michael Taylor Now?
Despite the fact covert operations are arguably Michael’s specialty, he and his son Peter Taylor were soon identified as people involved in Carlos’ flight and hence arrested from their home in May 2020. They were later extradited to Japan (around March 2021), even though the US government had the power to say no to it, essentially leaving them with no choice but to plead guilty on June 14, 2021. As a result, while the older Taylor was handed down a two-year sentence in a local correctional facility, his son received a relatively lower year and eight months, only for them to be released for good upon serving a total of 17 and 14 months, respectively.
Since then, Michael has actually come forward to lay on the Japanese prison system for their near-inhumane conditions: he said, “Seventeen months in solitary confinement. Two showers in a six-and-a-half month period of time. There’s no heat. You get frostbite daily, no air conditioning or ventilation during the summer. People are passing out from heatstroke. So yeah, I would say, and according to the UN, that’s clearly torture in violation of human rights.”
Furthermore, Michael claimed there was no attorney-client privilege: “Privileged communication is a farce, because I had to give [my] papers to guards who copy them and do whatever they want. Thirty minutes later, the papers get to my lawyers, who’re sitting on the opposite side of the glass. You’re monitored by a guard and an interpreter there who’s writing everything.” He’s thus understandably mad over it all and believes his ties with Carlos are far from over.
We should even mention that prosecutors once asserted the Taylors were paid close to $1.3 million for their services, following which they asked for another $500,000 to pay off their legal fees. However, in the original production, Michael indicated Carlos never really reimbursed them for their efforts in saving his life in any way, shape, or form despite his promises, leaving him in a lot of debt — the legal fees he owes across the two far-away nations alone is roughly $1 million.
Coming to his current standing, it appears as if Michael is currently working at a relatively new establishment by the name of Vitamin 1, where he admittedly produces a “healthy hydration drink full of vitamins and electrolytes and no sugar.” And these days, he’s supposedly trying to figure out ways to start producing this beverage in Dubai with the UAE’s National Food Company: he said in a recent interview that he’s looking “forward to serving the people of the United Arab Emirates.”