Two U.S. men charged with aiding Ghosn’s escape land in Japan


TOKYO (Reuters) – An American father and son accused of helping former Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s flee Japan arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday to potentially face days of questioning from prosecutors for their role in the elaborate escape plan.

A Reuters witness saw the plane carrying the Taylors, who were extradited by U.S. authorities on Monday, land at Tokyo’s Narita airport and the two men escorted on to waiting police buses.

U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, will not be indicted immediately but will likely face charges after an investigation is concluded.

Their lawyers waged a months-long battle to avoid being sent to Japan to face charges they helped Ghosn escape the country in a box, arguing they could not be prosecuted for helping someone “bail jump” and that, if extradited, they faced the prospect of relentless interrogations and torture.

Under Japanese law, suspects can be held for up to 20 days before being indicted or released, and are not allowed to have their lawyers present during questioning by prosecutors. Once charged, defendants are often refused bail by courts.

The Taylors, with the aid of a collection of high-powered lawyers and lobbyists, for months waged a campaign to press their case against extradition in the courts, media, State Department and White House

The U.S. Supreme Court last month cleared the way for the extradition of the Taylors, who have been in U.S. custody since their arrest in May.

“This is a sad day for the family, and for all who believe that veterans deserve better treatment from their own country,” their lawyer Paul Kelly said in a statement on Monday.

The U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. State Department declined to comment. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, which will handle the case, also declined to comment.

While Japanese prosecutors have declined to say where the pair will be detained, one potential location is the Tokyo Detention House, the city’s main jail where Ghosn was held after his arrest.

The Taylors are alleged to have helped Ghosn flee Japan on Dec. 29, 2019, hidden in a box and on a private jet before reaching his childhood home, Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn was awaiting trial on charges that he had engaged in financial wrongdoing, including by understating his compensation in Nissan’s financial statements and enriching himself at his employer’s expense through payments to car dealerships. Ghosn denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said the elder Taylor, a 60-year-old private security specialist, and Peter Taylor, 27, received $1.3 million for their services.

Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu, Tim Kelly and Kim Kyung Hoon in Tokyo; and Nate Raymond and David Shepardson in Boston; Editing by Grant McCool, Kenneth Maxwell & Shri Navaratnam


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