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US hands over fmr. Green Beret to Japan for helping Nissan CEO escape

United States Marshals entering a building. (United States Marshals Service/Released)
March 02, 2021

On Monday, the U.S. extradited a former U.S. Army Green Beret and his son to Japan, where they are accused of helping former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn escape trial.

Green Beret veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor were handed over to Japanese authorities in Boston and flown to Japan on Monday, CBS reported. Upon arriving in Japan, they were rushed to a waiting bus under the concealment of a tarp.

The father and son pair were wanted for their alleged role in Ghosn’s December 2019 escape from Japan. Ghosn faced trial in Japan on charges of misusing Nissan company funds, underreporting $84 million in company earnings, and breach of trust. Ghosn claimed innocence and has said Japan was torturing him.

Japan has been awaiting the pair’s extradition since May 2020, when Japan issued a warrant for their arrest and U.S. Marshals served the warrant. The pair has been waiting in a suburban Boston jail since then and has raised numerous challenges to their extradition.

The pair tried to appeal their extradition all the way up to the Supreme Court, but Justice Stephen Breyer denied their petition in February, leaving them with no way to avoid the extradition.

In their petition, lawyers for the Taylors argued their clients committed no crime as Japan has no statutes criminalizing bail jumping.

Michael Taylor has said, “I did some research and checked with legal counsel, found out that jump on bail’s not a crime. It was decided upon that [Ghosn] is being tortured, so let’s stop the torture.”

The Taylors’ lawyers argued their clients would likely win on the merits of their argument that jump on bail is not a crime and wrote that it is up to the Japanese legislature to change the law “not a creative and embarrassed Japanese prosecutor” trying to save face for Ghosn’s escape.

The defense team further argued that their clients could face torture, and thus allowing their extradition would violate a U.S. law, known as the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The CAT states the U.S. may not extradite ‘any person to a country in which there are substantial grounds for believing the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture.’”

Michael Taylor has claimed his son had no involvement in the escape, but Japanese prosecutors allege that after Ghosn posted bail, he met up with Peter Taylor, who was in Japan on the day Ghosn left the country.

Peter Taylor allegedly met with Ghosn, his father and another man, George-Antoine Zayek before he boarded a flight to China that day. Peter Taylor had left Japan hours before Ghosn’s escape from the country and the Taylors’ lawyers argued “there is no allegation Peter Taylor participated in, or was
even present for or knew of, any of these later events.”

After his son left China, Michael Taylor, Zayek and Ghosn are alleged to have gone to a hotel near the Kansai International Airport outside of Osaka. At the hotel, Ghosn allegedly stowed away in a musical equipment box which he hid in on a private flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

The former Green Beret has said he felt betrayed by the U.S. extradition decision and appealed to both then-President Donald Trump’s and now President Joe Biden’s administrations to stop U.S. officials from turning him and his son over to Japanese authorities.

The father and son pair will reportedly be held in the same Tokyo detention center where Ghosn was held before he posted bail and left the country. According to CBS, Japan has a 99 percent conviction rate and, if found guilty, the Taylors face up to three years in prison in Japan.