The details of Mr. Ghosn’s escape are still emerging.
Mr. Taylor, a well-known private-security contractor, has extensive contacts in Lebanon dating to the 1980s, when he was deployed to Beirut as part of a team of United States Special Forces that worked alongside Lebanese soldiers. He speaks Arabic, and Lebanese intermediaries connected him with Mr. Ghosn, according to a person familiar with the matter.
After his military career, Mr. Taylor founded American International Security, which was hired by The Times hired to assist in the rescue of David Rohde, a reporter who was held captive by the Taliban in 2008 and 2009.
But his career collapsed in 2012 when prosecutors accused him of helping to orchestrate a bribery scheme to secure a Defense Department contract and then seeking to derail the subsequent investigation. Mr. Taylor disputed the most serious charges and eventually pleaded guilty to wire fraud and violating the Procurement Integrity Act. He spent about a year and a half behind bars before being released in 2015.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing an anonymous source, that Mr. Ghosn had been smuggled through the Kansai airport in a type of box often used for concert equipment. It said that the terminal for private jets at that airport was essentially empty, and that oversize luggage could not fit in the airport’s scanners.
A customs official at the airport, Akira Taniguchi, said that screening of luggage was done in two stages. In the first, a private security company using X-ray and other equipment checks whether there are items that are not allowed on board, likes guns or knives.
In the second stage, customs officials check whether the bags contain items that are not permitted to be brought into or taken out of Japan, like drugs and some foods. They use X-ray machines, metal detectors, drug detectors and dogs for that step.