Japanese Prosecutors Charge Two Americans for Aiding Nissan Chairman Escape to Lebanon

Japanese prosecutors have charged two American men, Michael Taylor , age 60, and his son, Peter Taylor, age 28, in aiding in the escape of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn to Lebanon after Ghosn was released on bail.

District prosecutors in Tokyo have been questioning the two men after their extradition from the US earlier in March and have been held in a Tokyo detention center since March 2. The two men have been formally charged by the Japanese government  but did not release other details about the trial.

The Taylors were extradited to Japan after being arrested and detained in the US last May following Ghosn’s disappearance. The Taylors were not immediately available for comment which is quite common for those being prosecuted by the Japanese. Japan convicts more than 99% of the cases that stand trial.

Ghosn was arrested in 2018 following an investigation that discovered that he was under-reporting his compensation and was in breach of trust laws. Ghosn jumped bail in December 2019 with the help of the Taylors, and maintains that he is innocent of all charges. 

Japanese prosecutors are adamant that Ghosn stand trail, but does not have an extradition agreement with Lebanon, complicating the matter.

Michael Taylor allegedly hid Ghosn in a black box containing audio equipment with the help of George-Antoine Zayek and were aware of the ongoing judicial proceedings against Ghosn. The box was smuggled through an airport in Osaka, Japan and put on a plane bound for Turkey.

The Taylors could face up to 3 years in prison and a fine of 300,000 yen ($2,900) if convicted. The whereabouts of Zayek are unknown and Japanese authorities declined to comment on the missing party.

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