Americans jailed in Japan over Ghosn’s escape return home

Father and son spent 20 months in jail for helping former Nissan chairman flee Japan.

An American father and son imprisoned in Japan for helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn escape to Lebanon have been returned to the United States [File: Taylor family via AFP]

An American father and son convicted in Japan on charges of helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn escape to Lebanon, hiding in a box, have been returned to the United States, their lawyer has said.

Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, was sentenced in July last year in Tokyo District Court to two years in prison, while his son Peter Taylor was sentenced to one year and eight months.

They were convicted of helping a criminal for their involvement in the December 2019 escape of Ghosn, who had been awaiting trial on various financial misconduct charges, including under-reporting his compensation.

The Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts in May 2020, and extradited to Japan in March 2021, though they fought against deportation to Japan.

The US and Japan have an extradition treaty, while Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan. Ghosn is French-Brazilian of Lebanese ancestry.

The US Federal Bureau of Prisons online site lists Michael Taylor as being at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles and set for release on January 1, 2023.

Paul V Kelly, the lawyer for the Taylors, said by email on Tuesday that he was in talks with parole officials about an earlier release. Peter Taylor has already been released, and is back with his family in Massachusetts, said Kelly, whose office is based in Boston.

The Japanese justice ministry declined to comment. Nissan had no comment.

During their trial in Tokyo, Michael and Peter Taylor apologised and acknowledged guilt, saying they had been misled by Ghosn. They denied they had benefitted monetarily because the payment just covered expenses.

Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co for nearly two decades, says he is innocent. He says he fled because he could not expect a fair trial in Japan.

Source: The Associated Press