TOKYO – Two American men alleged to have helped former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn escape Japan in a loudspeaker box in 2019 when he was facing criminal charges lost their last offer of extradition from the United States to Japan on Saturday to block.
Without comment, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer denied a motion by lawyers for the two men – Michael Taylor, 60, a former Green Beret, and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 27 – to suspend a lower court order that cleared the way for them to be sent to Japan to be tried.
The two men are wanted for their role in a caper straight out of a Hollywood movie. The country’s most famous criminal defendant is fleeing right under the noses of the authorities.
In December 2019, Mr Ghosn was transferred from his Tokyo home to the Osaka area, where he was smuggled onto a private plane destined for Turkey. He then flew on to Beirut and took him out of the reach of the Japanese authorities who had accused him of financial misconduct.
The Japanese public prosecutor’s office issued an arrest warrant for the Taylors last January. US officials arrested her in Massachusetts in May when the younger Mr. Taylor was preparing to fly to Lebanon, where Mr. Ghosn now lives.
The Taylors spent the intervening months in a county jail to prevent them from being sent to Japan, where they have an extradition treaty with the United States. The men were denied bail after US prosecutors classified them as “an enormous risk to escape” and cited their role in Mr Ghosn’s escape.
The men did not deny that they were involved in Mr Ghosn’s escape. The Japanese authorities have provided extensive documentation of the two men’s roles, including detailed reports of their movements before and during Mr Ghosn’s escape.
According to the Japanese authorities, Peter Taylor traveled to Japan three times in 2019 to meet with Mr Ghosn, who was waiting for a trial at his home in Tokyo, including the day before his escape.
The next day, Mr. Ghosn went to a nearby Tokyo hotel where he met Michael Taylor and another man, George Antoine Zayek, a veteran of the Lebanese Civil War. The two men accompanied Mr. Ghosn to Osaka before hiding him in a large speaker box with holes in the floor and putting him on board the private jet heading for Turkey.
Taylor lawyers have argued that the charges against them are not a crime in Japan. They also say the men would be detained and treated arbitrarily, which amounts to torture under Japan’s legal system.
The country has been criticized domestically and internationally for a system of “hostage justice” in which criminal suspects who deny guilt can be held for long periods without charge.
Mr Ghosn, who maintains his innocence, says he was the victim of a politically motivated campaign by Nissan executives and Japanese officials to depose him and that he fled the country to escape a rigged judicial system.
Mr Ghosn’s escape from Japan was planned in collaboration with a team of at least 15 employees around the world, the New York Times previously reported.
Peter Taylor, who works in private security, had helped with other international escape operations in the past. The Times once hired him to save a correspondent, David Rohde, from the Taliban. Mr. Rohde escaped alone in 2009.
In the lead up to Mr Ghosn’s escape and in the months that followed, Mr Ghosn and his son Anthony Ghosn made direct payments to Mr Taylor and a company he controlled worth more than $ 1.3 million, US prosecutors said in court files With .