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Japan seeks extradition of Americans accused over ex-Nissan chief’s escape

Two men were arrested in May after being accused of helping Carlos Ghosn flee to Lebanon in December.

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Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn (AP)

Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn (AP)

Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn (AP)

Tokyo prosecutors have filed an extradition request for two Americans arrested in the US for allegedly helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn to flee Japan while he was on bail.

Father-and-son Michael and Peter Taylor were arrested in May in Massachusetts after being accused of helping Ghosn flee to Lebanon in December while he was awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.

“We express our deepest gratitude for the cooperation the US authorities have shown to our request,” the Tokyo District Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

“We plan to cooperate in all ways possible so the extradition procedures for the two can be carried out quickly,” it added.

The completion of the extradition request does not immediately mean Michael Taylor, a 59-year-old former Green Beret and private security specialist, and his son Peter Taylor, 27, will be handed over.

Their lawyer has argued that jumping bail is technically not a crime in Japan.

Prosecutors here have brushed off that argument, stressing that Japan has arrest warrants out for the Taylors for allegedly helping a criminal escape, which is a crime under Japanese law.

Japanese prosecutors have also been trying to bring Ghosn back to Japan, but Lebanon, unlike the US, does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

If convicted in Japan, the Taylors could face a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a 300,000 yen (£2,200) fine.

Authorities claim the Taylors helped sneak Ghosn out of Japan on a private jet with the former Nissan boss tucked away in a large box.

Ghosn, who led car giant Nissan for two decades, has repeatedly said he is innocent.

He said he fled because he believes he could not expect a fair trial in Japan.

Ghosn faced charges of under-reporting future income and breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for personal gain.

He said the compensation was never decided on or received, and that the payments were legitimate.

PA