Carlos Ghosn: US Army veteran and son admit helping ex-Nissan boss flee trial in Japan

Michael Taylor, 60, and his son Peter, 28, pleaded guilty to helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn escape trial in Japan in a box flown to Lebanon aboard a private jet

Joanna Taylor
Monday 14 June 2021 17:42

A United States special forces veteran and his son have admitted to helping smuggle former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn out of Japan in a box aboard a private jet ahead of his trial for financial crimes.

Retired Green Beret Michael Taylor, 60, and his son Peter, 28, pleaded guilty to aiding Mr Ghosn’s escape in December 2019 during their first appearance at Tokyo District Court this morning.

The pair replied no when the judge asked whether there was anything wrong with the charges submitted by prosecutors, according to Reuters news agency.

The indictment claimed that Mr Ghosn fled from his home in Tokyo’s Minato Ward to a hotel in the capital and then to another in Osaka Prefecture on 29 December 2019, before he made his way to Kansai International Airport, Japan’s Kyodo News agency reports.

The Taylors hid Mr Ghosn in a box, it continues, and passed him through airport security before flying him on a private jet to Turkey, despite knowing international travel was banned under his bail conditions.

Mr Ghosn then flew to Lebanon, one of several countries where he holds nationality, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan.

Michael and Peter Taylor received $1.3 million (£925,000) for their services, prosecutors said. They could face up to three years in prison.

The pair were extradited from the US in March and held at the same prison in Tokyo where Mr Ghosn was detained after a months-long legal battle.

Their lawyers claimed that the Taylors could face relentless interrogations and torture in Japan, where suspects are interrogated without legal representatives present. The conviction rate in Japan is 99 per cent.

Mr Ghosn, meanwhile, remains a fugitive in Lebanon, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

At the time of his escape, he was awaiting trial on charges that he understated his compensation by 9.3 billion yen (£60m) over a decade and enriched himself at Nissan Motor Co Ltd’s expense.

The former chairman denies these charges.

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