A Tokyo court has sentenced an American father and son to prison, accused of helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn escape to Lebanon while awaiting trial in Japan.
Michael Taylor was sentenced Monday to two years in prison, and his son Peter was sentenced to one year and eight months.
They were accused of assisting a criminal in Ghosn’s escape in December 2019, who hid in a large box that was flown by private jet via Turkey to Lebanon. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on charges of understating his compensation and breaching confidence in using Nissan Motor Co.’s money. for personal gain. He says he is innocent and left because he could not expect a fair trial in Japan.
The Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts in May 2020 and extradited to Japan in March. During the trial, they apologized, claiming that Ghosn had misled them about the criminal justice system in Japan. Michael Taylor sobbed and said he was “broke”, denying that they received monetary gain because prosecutors said Ghosn had paid them $ 1.3 million (€ 1.1 million). just covered the costs.
Taylor lawyer Keiji Isaji demanded a speedy trial. Many Japanese trials last for months, if not years.
The maximum punishment in Japan for helping a criminal is three years in prison. The prosecutor’s office demanded to sentence Michael Taylor to two years and 10 months in prison, and his son to two years and six months.
The Taylor defense advocated suspended sentences for two who spent 10 months in US custody prior to their extradition.
In December 2019, Ghosn left his home in Tokyo and boarded a bullet train to Osaka. In one of the hotels, he hid in a large box, which allegedly contained audio equipment, which, according to prosecutors, had holes for air so that he could breathe.
Another man, George-Antoine Zaek, is accused of escaping but has not been arrested.
Separately, Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive, is facing trial in Tokyo on charges of falsifying securities records for Ghosn’s compensation. Kelly, arrested at the same time as Ghosn, also says he is innocent.
The verdict in the Kelly case, which began last September, is not expected until next year. More than 99% of criminal trials in Japan end in convictions. After conviction, Kelly is sentenced to a maximum sentence of imprisonment for up to 15 years.