US hands over men accused of helping Carlos Ghosn escape: report
The father-son duo accused of orchestrating the daring escape of former Nissan president Carlos Ghosn from Japan has reportedly been handed over by the US government to deal with it.
Michael Taylor, 60, a former security contractor turned Green Beret, and his son, Peter, had been fight against extradition in Japan since their arrest outside Boston last May. Taylor warned in a recent interview with The Associated Press that he feared he and his son would be treated unfairly and possibly tortured by Japanese authorities.
But last month, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed an emergency petition filed by their lawyers, paving the way for them to deal with it.
Both men were handed over to Japanese authorities early Monday, their lawyer told the AP. Lawyer Paul Kelly did not immediately return calls and emails.
Japanese authorities accused the Taylors of carrying out an operation in December 2019 to smuggle Ghosn out of the country in a musical equipment case in which special air holes had been drilled. At the time, the former Nissan executive was under house arrest in Japan, awaiting trial for financial misconduct.
The plan involved whip Ghosn on a high-speed train from Tokyo to a lighter airport in Osaka, then taking him by private jet first to Turkey and then to Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Ghosn, who remained in Beirut, denied the financial charges and said he fled because he would not have had a fair trial in Japan.
The Taylors could face up to four and a half years in prison if found guilty of helping Ghosn escape in violation of Japanese immigration control law.
Yoko Kamikawa, Japan’s justice minister, declined to say whether Tokyo prosecutors arrested the Taylors at a press conference on Tuesday, but added that she believed Ghosn should also stand trial in the country.
The Tokyo District Procuratorate also declined to comment.
Before participating in Ghosn’s escape, Michael taylor specializes in extracting hostages and kidnapped children detained in the Middle East, and did undercover work there for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
He also spent 14 months in Utah jail for corruption and bribery in connection with $ 54 million US security contracts in Afghanistan. Years earlier, he had had contact with the law as a private investigator in Boston.
In interviews, Taylor, whose wife is Lebanese, said he was motivated to help Ghosn out of principle, not profit.
The Justice Department declined to comment. For security reasons, it generally does not deal with the timing of extradition transfers.
A court in Istanbul last month pronouncement of prison sentences to three employees of the Turkish airline which transported Ghosn out of Japan.
Greg Kelly, Ghosn’s former deputy, is also on trial in Tokyo, combat charges that he helped the former Nissan chairman hide the true scale of his pay.