US father and son extradited to Japan over Carlos Ghosn escape

Carlos Ghosn peaking in Lebanon

An American father and son have been handed over to Japanese authorities for allegedly helping former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn flee the country. The two were charged last year with helping Mr Ghosn flee Japan, hidden in a box and on a private jet.

Mr Ghosn escaped to his childhood home, Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan. Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor have fought a months-long battle to avoid extradition over the case. The US Supreme Court last month cleared the way for the extradition of the Taylors, who have been in US custody since their arrest in May. The Massachusetts men have been locked up at a suburban Boston jail since their arrest in May, they were handed over to Japanese officials early on Monday, according to their lawyers.

Prosecutors said the pair received $1.3m (£936,000) to help Mr Ghosn escape Japan on 29 December, 2019, Michael Taylor is a 60-year-old private security specialist and US Army Special Forces veteran. He once ran American International Security Corporation, a private military contractor that focused on helping people escape difficult situations overseas. According to a profile in Vanity Fair, he has completed nearly two dozen escape operations, charging clients anywhere from $20,000 to $2m per job. Mr Ghosn’s escape from Tokyo to Beirut was meticulously planned over a period of several weeks or months, according to numerous media reports. Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that CCTV footage showed Mr Ghosn leaving his house and walking about to a nearby hotel, where he joined two other men.

The three then boarded a train to Osaka, and went to a hotel near Kansai international airport, it is believed Mr Ghosn was concealed in one of two large, black box-like luggage cases, which was then loaded onto a private jet without being checked by the authorities. Last month, a Turkish court convicted an executive of Turkish jet company MNG and two pilots over their role in flying Mr Ghosn out of Japan. The former Nissan executive was first arrested on charges of financial misconduct in November 2018 for allegedly under-reporting his pay package for the five years to 2015. A number of other charges followed, including an accusation by Nissan that he directed money from the company for his own personal enrichment.

The multi-millionaire spent months in prison and under house arrest, where he was monitored 24 hours a day and had only restricted access to the internet. After his escape, Mr Ghosn held a press conference in Lebanon, in which he denied charges of financial wrongdoing in Japan, claiming the country’s justice system was “rigged”. He described himself as a “hostage” in the country with a choice between dying there or running. He said he faced interrogations which lasted up to eight hours a day, and was barred from any contact with his wife, Carole.

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