Tokyo – Americans Michael and Peter Taylor, father and son, who hid the former Renault-Nissan president, Carlos Ghosny, he is to be sentenced on Monday to a box of sound equipment for helping him escape from Japan.
At the time, in 2019, Ghosn was out on bail awaiting trial in Tokyo for alleged financial fraud, and was banned from leaving the country.
Prosecutors at a hearing earlier this month sought a prison sentence of two years and 10 months for Michael Taylor. He said son Peter Taylor could face a sentence of two years and six months.
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Both pleaded guilty to charges of Ghosn’s escape to the Lebanese capital, Beirut, in a shock development such as the executive’s arrest for alleged financial crimes in November 2018.
Out of Ghosn’s reach – as Lebanon does not extradite its citizens – Michael and Peter Taylor became legal representatives for Ghosn and his case. Former Nissan director Greg Kelly, who was arrested on the same day as his boss, is also facing trial in Japan. Ghosn and Kelly have denied the allegations.
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After more than a year on bail in Japan for alleged financial fraud, Ghosn went to Osaka airport by bullet train on December 29, 2019. From there, he boarded a private jet, which flew to Istanbul, where he changed planes and went to Beirut.
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For prosecutor Ryozo Kitajima, Taylor’s actions indicated that “the ability to pursue the truth has been blocked,” he argued on July 2.
He explains that Ghosn’s escape was planned “organically” over the course of more than half a year, and that while Michael led the operation, Peter Taylor’s role was also important.
Defense lawyers for Taylor, whose subjects were imprisoned in the US for nearly 10 months before his extradition, are demanding a suspended sentence.
According to Taylor’s lawyer, Keiji Isaji, Ghosn was the only one behind the scenes and made all the big plans.
understand court battles
Taylor has been involved in court battles ever since he helped Ghosn escape. After fighting extradition charges, the two were deported to Japan in March. Both were held in solitary confinement at a detention center and are attending hearings in Tokyo District Court.
The offense of harboring or allowing a criminal to escape carries a maximum prison sentence of three years in Japan, although experts have suggested that pleading guilty, showing remorse and cooperating with prosecutors could result in a milder sentence. is.
The pair apologized to prosecutors and Japan’s justice system at a hearing in late June. “It was a mistake to help Ghosn escape,” they both said.
Michael Taylor never denied his involvement in Ghosn’s escape, even speaking in court about how he organized and conducted the brazen operation. Peter’s role is less clear.
According to prosecutors, the money used for Ghosn’s escape was transferred through Peter’s company and he met with the former Renault-Nissan executive several times, both in the months leading up to the day of his escape.
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But Peter testified in court last month that he did not know the details of when and how Ghosn was planning to flee, and only learned about the former president’s flight through subsequent reports.
It is not clear how long Taylors who have served in the US will be taken into account in the judge’s final decision. Michael Taylor is a former Army Special Forces soldier.
According to a letter accessed by Bloomberg News, the US State Department said it would inform the Japanese government of the time served by the Taylors so that it could be taken into account. Prosecutors argued that the time spent should not be the reason for a lighter sentence.