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US court hands over to Japan 2 suspected of helping Carlos Ghosn flee

Former chairman of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon on January 08, 2020. [Mahmut Geldi/Anadolu Agency]
Former chairman of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn speaks during a press conference in Beirut, Lebanon on 8 January 2020 [Mahmut Geldi/Anadolu Agency]

In the latest developments in the case of former Nissan and Renault President Carlos Ghosn, a federal judge in Boston rejected on Thursday the latest attempt by a former US Army Special Forces officer and his son to avoid extradition to Japan to face charges of aiding Ghosn to flee.

The US State Department had previously agreed to extradite Michael Taylor, a former US Army Special Forces officer and his son Peter Taylor to Japan, but they went to court to avoid extradition. US District Court Judge Indira Talwani did not respond to their request, allowing the extradition process to take place.

Although the father and son were arrested in May 2020 at the request of Japan, Talwani temporarily suspended their extradition on 29 October 2020, until hearing the reasons for challenging the Foreign Ministry's decision.

The prosecution said that Michael and Peter Taylor helped Ghosn escape from Japan on 29 December 2019, when he hid in a box on a private plane that took him to Lebanon, his country of origin, which is not bound by an extradition treaty with Japan.

Prosecutors also confirmed that Michael Taylor, a private security specialist, and his son, received $1.3 million for their services.

On 20 January, the Turkish public prosecutor demanded 12 years' imprisonment for the director of an air cargo company and two pilots on charges of "smuggling migrants", in the case of Ghosn's escape from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul.

READ: US says Ghosn wired money to man who helped him flee Japan

The case involving Ghosn's escape included the trial of four pilots, the company's manager, and two flight attendants.

The Turkish judiciary charged seven people in Istanbul, who work for an air shipping company, of "smuggling migrants" after announcing the passage of Ghosn via Turkey during his escape from Japan to Lebanon.

Hari Nada, a senior vice president at Nissan, told a Tokyo court in early January that Ghosn hid part of his wages for fear that the French government would force him to leave Renault in the event that they discovered his earnings.

Nada, head of the company's legal affairs department, is one of the most prominent people to report on the case brought by Japanese prosecutors against Ghosn, who was arrested in 2018.

Nada testified in the trial of former Nissan CEO Greg Kelly accused of helping Ghosn hide 9.3 billion yen ($89 million) of his income and the financial compensation he received over eight years after Japan implemented new rules requiring managers to report payments of more than one billion yen.

Ghosn was arrested in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, on 19 November 2018, on charges of committing "financial irregularities" while he was the head of the Nissan company, which he had previously saved from bankruptcy.

Ghosn was later released on bail, but he remained under observation.

Ghosn has denied committing any financial misconduct while alleging that he was a victim of a coup on the board of directors orchestrated by former Nissan colleagues who feared he would seek a merger between Nissan and Renault, the company's biggest shareholder.

READ: Manager at Turkish jet operator helped ex-Nissan boss escape because of threats

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