American Father And Son Duo Sentenced In Japan For Helping Executive Escape

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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An American father and son were convicted Monday for helping a former Nissan executive escape from Japan in 2019, multiple sources reported. 

Former Green Beret Michael Taylor received two years in prison and his son Peter was sentenced to one year and eight months for assisting Nissan’s former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, escape to Lebanon while awaiting his trial in Japan, according to the Associated Press.

Michael Taylor, 60, and Peter Taylor, 28, pleaded guilty last month for assisting Ghosn flee Japan while on bail, according to the Washington Post

The Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts in May 2020 and extradited to Japan in March 2021, according to the AP

The Taylors admitted to helping Ghosn flee Japan by hiding him in a box that was flown in a private jet to Turkey and then Lebanon, according to the Associated Press. Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan, the Washington Post reported. 

“This case enabled Ghosn, a defendant of a serious crime, to escape overseas,” Chief Judge Hideo Nirei said, reported by the Washington Post. “It has been one and a half years since the escape, and there is still no prospect of a trial,” Nirei said. 

Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November 2018 for underreporting his salary and breach of trust in using Nissan’s company money for personal gain, according to the AP. He claimed he was innocent and fled Japan because he did not expect a fair trial.

The Taylors apologized during the trial, saying that they were misled  by Ghosn and didn’t think they were breaking the law, the Wall Street Journal reported. (RELATED: KINGSTON: Former Nissan Chairman Illustrates Japan’s Nightmare Criminal Justice System)

Michael Taylor sobbed during the hearing, saying he was “broke” and that the $1.3 million he received from Ghosn only covered expenses, according to the AP. Judge Nirei determined that the Taylor’s motive was money, and the father-son duo can appeal the sentencing within two weeks.

The judge did not give the criminal duo the full sentencing prosecutors argued for, saying Michael and Peter showed remorse for their actions, the WSJ reported. 

Michael Taylor was the leader of the escape, the judge said according to the WSJ. 

“Peter played a smaller role, but his role was important to ensure the plan wasn’t discovered,” the judge said, reported by the WSJ. 

Three Turkish nationals were found guilty of migrant smuggling in connection with the Ghosn escape, according to the WSJ. 

A Tokyo court is hearing the case of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly who was also charged with reporting falsified compensation statements for Ghosn, the WSJ reported. 

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