US court clears way for extradition to Japan of men accused of helping Ghosn escape

12 February 2021 - 08:53 By Reuters
Pedestrians walk in front of a monitor displaying a news broadcast on former Nissan Motor Co chairman Carlos Ghosn on January 9 2020 in Tokyo.
Pedestrians walk in front of a monitor displaying a news broadcast on former Nissan Motor Co chairman Carlos Ghosn on January 9 2020 in Tokyo.
Image: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

A US appeals court on Thursday declined to further delay the extradition to Japan of two men charged with helping former Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman Carlos Ghosn flee the country.

The order by the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston clears the way for US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, to be handed over to Japan, after the US State Department approved their extradition.

Their lawyers had said that absent a stay of an earlier ruling they were seeking to appeal that allowed for their extradition, the US government could turn over the Taylors to Japan as early as Friday.

Paul Kelly, a lawyer for the Taylors, said their defence team is "currently exploring the Taylors' legal options". The US Justice Department declined to comment.

The Taylors were arrested in May at Japan's request after being charged with helping Ghosn flee Japan on December 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 engaged in financial wrongdoing, including by understating his compensation in Nissan's financial statements. Ghosn denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said the elder Taylor, a 60-year-old private security specialist, and Peter Taylor, 27, received $1.3m (roughly R19,024,291) for their services.

The Taylors' lawyers argued they could not be prosecuted in Japan for helping someone "bail jump" and that, if extradited, they faced the prospect of relentless interrogations and torture.

But a federal judge last month held that while prison conditions in Japan "may be deplorable", that was not enough to bar extradition and that they were charged with an "extraditable offence".

During their months-long legal fight, the Taylors' high-powered defence team also lobbied the White House under then-president Donald Trump to step in.


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