Ghosn escape: two wanted Americans handed over to Japanese authorities | Business and economic news

US father-son duo wanted by Japan for helping former Nissan Motor co-chairman Carlos Ghosn escape the country in a box were returned to Japanese custody on Monday, ending their months-long battle to stay in the United States.

Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, have failed to convince U.S. officials and courts to block their extradition to Japan, where they will stand trial for smuggling Ghosn out of the country in 2019 as the former auto industry titan was awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct.

The Massachusetts men, who have been locked in a suburban Boston jail since their arrest in May, were turned over to Japanese authorities early Monday, one of their attorneys, Paul Kelly, said.

Lawyers for the Taylors had argued that the charges fell outside the law under which Japan wants to try them and that they would be treated unfairly in Japan and subjected to “mental and physical torture.” They accused Japan of suing the couple in a bid to save face after the embarrassment of Ghosn’s escape.

Michael Taylor, a US Army Special Forces veteran and private security specialist who in the past was hired by parents to rescue abducted children, has never denied the allegations.

Last year, Taylor gave an interview to Vanity Fair magazine in which he described the mission in detail. When asked why he had done it, he responded with the Special Forces motto: “De oppresso liber” or “to liberate the oppressed,” the magazine reported.

Michael Taylor declined to discuss the details of the case in an interview last month with the Associated Press news agency over the possibility of his being on trial in Japan. But he insisted his son was not involved and was not even in Japan when Ghosn left.

Ghosn, who became one of the most powerful executives in the auto industry by organizing a turnaround at the Japanese automaker, was released on bail after his arrest in November 2018, accused of underreporting his future earnings and for committing a breach of trust by hijacking Nissan. money for personal gain.

Ghosn denied the allegations and said he fled to avoid “political persecution”.

A UN panel on human rights mentionned in November, Ghosn was wrongly arrested and asked the Japanese government for “compensation” and “other reparations”.

Logos of car manufacturers Renault and Nissan are seen in front of company dealerships in Reims, France, July 9, 2019 [File: Christian Hartmann/Reuters]

Prosecutors described it as one of the “most brazen and best orchestrated escape acts in recent history.” Authorities say the Taylors received at least $ 1.3 million for their aid.

The black box

On the day of the escape, Michael Taylor flew to Osaka on a chartered plane with another man, George-Antoine Zayek, carrying two large black boxes and posing as musicians with audio equipment, have indicated the authorities. Meanwhile, Ghosn, released on bail, visited the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo and met Peter Taylor, who was already in Japan, authorities said.

The eldest Taylor and Zayek met the other two at the Grand Hyatt, and soon after, they went their separate ways. Peter Taylor hopped on a flight to China as the others boarded a bullet train and returned to another hotel near the airport, where Taylor and Zayek had booked a room. They all entered; only Ghosn’s rescuers were seen exiting.

Carlos Ghosn listens to a question during a press conference at Holy Spirit University in Kaslik, as he launched an initiative with a local university to help the country facing a severe economic and financial crisis, in Kaslik in the north from Beirut, Lebanon on September 29, 2020 [File: Hussein Malla/AP Photo]

Authorities say Ghosn was in one of the large black boxes. At the airport, the boxes went through a security checkpoint without being checked and were loaded onto a private jet bound for Turkey, officials said.

The Taylors had hired lawyers linked to former President Donald Trump, including former White House attorney Ty Cobb, in an attempt to get Trump to block extradition before stepping down.

In his interview with the PA, Michael Taylor implored President Joe Biden to intervene and said he felt betrayed that the United States would try to deliver him to Japan after his service in the country. But the Biden administration refused to block the extradition.

Under Trump, the US State Department agreed in October to return the men to Japan. But a Boston federal judge suspended their extraditions shortly after their lawyers filed an emergency petition. The judge dismissed their request in January, and the Boston-based First Circuit Court of Appeals later rejected his proposal to stay the extradition while it appealed the decision.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer last month rejected an offer of additional time on an appeal, paving the way for the men’s surrender in Japan.

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