Escape of Ghosn from Japan: two accomplices sentenced to 24 and 20 months in prison

Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, had recognized their role in the escape of the former boss of Renault, a real snub for the Japanese authorities.

Two Americans were sentenced Monday to two years in prison for the first, one year and eight months for the second, respectively, by a court in Tokyo for helping Carlos Ghosn flee Japan at the end of 2019.

Michael Taylor, 60, who received the heaviest sentence, and his son Peter Taylor, 28, had been on trial since last month in Tokyo in the resounding case that ridiculed the Japanese authorities.

The lawyers of the two accomplices had pleaded for suspended sentences

Carlos Ghosn had managed to flee Japan, hidden in a box of audio equipment. Michael and Peter Taylor had admitted the charges against them and had apologized in court, saying they regret their actions. In early July, the prosecution requested two years and ten months in prison against Michael Taylor and two and a half years for his son.

Their lawyers had pleaded for suspended sentences, arguing in particular that Carlos Ghosn was the main instigator of the whole operation. But the main judge, Hideo Nirei, stressed on Monday that it was a “serious crime” because the prospect of one day seeing Carlos Ghosn tried in Japan has evaporated. “The two defendants successfully carried out an unprecedented flight abroad” and played a proactive role in this operation, the judge continued.

Hideo Nirei also believed that the accomplices had been motivated by money, and not because Michael Taylor has, through his wife, distant kinship relations with the family of Carlos Ghosn in Lebanon. The Taylors had received more than $ 860,000 from Carlos Ghosn’s entourage to prepare and finance the operation, about half of which had been used to lease the private jets. They then received the equivalent of $ 500,000 in bitcoin to pay their attorney fees, according to investigators.

SEE AS ​​WELL – Turkey publishes images of alleged accomplices of Carlos Ghosn

Three people had already been convicted in this case

Residing permanently in Lebanon since his flight, the former big boss of Nissan and Renault is beyond the reach of Japanese justice because the country of the Cedar does not extradite its nationals. The Taylors were arrested in the United States in May 2020, then extradited to Japan in March this year to stand trial. Another alleged accomplice, a man of Lebanese origin named George-Antoine Zayek, is still wanted.

At the end of 2019, Carlos Ghosn was on bail in Tokyo, with the ban on leaving Japan pending trial for alleged financial embezzlement when he was at the head of Nissan. He has always claimed his innocence on this issue. On December 29, 2019, after traveling incognito from Tokyo to Osaka by shinkansen, the Japanese high-speed train, he hid in a large box of audio equipment pierced with small discreet holes to allow him to breathe. Carlos Ghosn had thus escaped controls at Kansai International Airport. Baggage checks were not compulsory at the time for passengers boarding a private jet. In the process, the Franco-Lebanese-Brazilian had reached Beirut via Istanbul aboard private jets rented for the occasion.

In February, three people were sentenced to more than four years in prison each by an Istanbul court in this case: an official of a Turkish jet rental company, as well as two pilots. Carlos Ghosn’s leak did not prevent the opening in September 2020 of a criminal trial in Tokyo over deferred compensation totaling several tens of millions of dollars that he was supposed to receive later, but without this being mentioned. in the group’s stock market reports.

A former Nissan legal official, Greg Kelly, who was arrested in Japan on the same day as Carlos Ghosn in November 2018, is still on trial in this case and faces ten years in prison or more. The 64-year-old American has been claiming his innocence from the start, while Nissan, on trial as a legal person, has pleaded guilty. The requisitions in this trial are scheduled for September 29, then the defense pleadings on October 27.


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