Japan seeks extradition of Americans accused in Ghosn escape
Published Friday, July 3, 2020 1:49AM EDT
Tokyo prosecutors said Friday that a request for extradition of two Americans arrested in the U.S. for allegedly helping Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Nissan, flee Japan while he was out on bail has been filed.
"We express our deepest gratitude for the co-operation the U.S. authorities have shown to our request," the Tokyo District Prosecutors Office said in a statement.
"We plan to co-operate in all ways possible so the extradition procedures for the two can be carried out quickly," it said.
The completion of the extradition request does not immediately mean Michael Taylor, a 59-year-old former Green Beret and private security specialist, and his son Peter Taylor, 27, will be handed over.
Arrested in May in Massachusetts, they are accused of helping Ghosn flee to Lebanon in December while he was awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.
Their lawyer has argued that jumping bail is technically not a crime in Japan.
Prosecutors here have brushed off that argument, stressing that Japan has arrest warrants out for the Taylors for allegedly helping a criminal escape, which is a crime under Japanese law.
Japanese prosecutors have also been trying to bring Ghosn back to Japan, but Lebanon, unlike the U.S., does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.
If convicted in Japan, the Taylors could face a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a 300,000 yen (US$2,800) fine.
Authorities say the Taylors helped sneak Ghosn out of Japan on a private jet with the former Nissan boss tucked away in a large box.
Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co. for two decades, has repeatedly said he is innocent. He said he fled because he believes he could not expect a fair trial in Japan.
He faced charges of under-reporting future income and breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for personal gain. He says the compensation was never decided on or received, and that the payments were legitimate.