Fri, 30 Jul 2021

TOKYO, Japan: Two Americans have been sentenced for their roles in helping former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn flee to Lebanon in 2019.

U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor was sentenced by a Japanese court to two years in prison, while his son Peter will be imprisoned for 20 months-one-year-and-eight-months for assisting Ghosn flee the country after being charged with fraud.

"This case enabled Ghosn, a defendant in a serious crime, to escape overseas," said Hideo Nirei, the chief judge. "One year and a half has passed, but there is no prospect of the trial being held."

The Americans remained silent during their 20-minute appearance at the Tokyo District Court.

Nirei said the elder Taylor played a "leading role" in the escape by escorting Ghosn onto a jet, while his son had taken care of his luggage and provided him with a key to a hotel room where he changed clothes.

The two Americans apologized to the court in June. They said they regretted their participating in smuggling Ghosn out of Japan hidden in a box and flown out of the country on a private jet from Japan's Kansai airport in 2019.

Prosecutors said the Taylors were paid $1.3 million by Ghosn, along with $500,000 for legal fees.

The Taylors were arrested in the United States in May 2020. Their lawyers unsuccessfully sought to prevent the extraditions. Lawyers argued that the Taylors could not be prosecuted for helping someone "bail jump" and that they could face relentless interrogation and torture if returned to Japan.

Ghosn remains in Lebanon, where he grew up. Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn is charged with hiding $85 million in compensation from Nissan over a decade. He is also charged with accepting payments from car dealerships in the Middle East.

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