American father and son charged in Tokyo over Carlos Ghosn escape

A US special forces veteran and his son have been formally charged with illegally helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn flee Japan.

Americans Michael Taylor, 60, and his 28-year-old son Peter, face jail terms of up to three years if convicted of being part of the elaborate scheme to smuggle Ghosn out of the country to Beirut in late 2019.

The motor industry veteran was on bail awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges, which he denied, and remains a fugitive in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Michael Taylor was shielded from view as he arrived in Japan on Monday
Image:Michael Taylor was shielded from view as he arrived in Japan earlier this month after US authorities approved his extradition

Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, and his son were extradited from the US to Japan earlier this month.

In a statement, the Tokyo prosecutors’ office alleged that the men were paid $1.3m (£938,000) to help Ghosn evade punishment and escape to Lebanon by hiding him in carry-on luggage aboard a private jet.

Michael Taylor, in a police photo from 2012, has never denied helping the escape
Image:Michael Taylor, in a police photo from 2012, is a former special forces Green Beret

Under the law in Japan, which has a conviction rate of 99%, the suspects face up to three years in prison if found guilty.

Lawyers for the Taylors had waged a months-long battle to keep them from being sent to Japan, arguing they could not be prosecuted for helping someone to jump bail.

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Instrument cases claimed to be used during Ghosn's escape
Image:Prosecutors say Ghosn escaped in a music case loaded on to a private jet

They also said they faced the prospect of relentless interrogation and torture.

No date was set for their trial and no formal pleas were entered at the hearing.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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