BOSTON (AP) – An American father and son who were wanted by Japan to help former chairman of Nissan Motor Co. Carlos Ghosn escape the country in a box were placed in Japanese custody on Monday ended their months-long struggle to stay in the United States
Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor failed to convince US officials and courts to block their extradition to Japan. There they are charged with smuggling Ghosn out of the country in 2019 while the former auto-titan awaited financial trial on charges of misconduct.
The Massachusetts men, who had been detained in suburban Boston since their arrest in May, were turned over to Japanese officials early Monday, said one of their lawyers, Paul Kelly.
The Taylor’s lawyers had argued that the allegations did not fit under the law Japan is trying to bring them to justice under, and that they were being treated unfairly and subjected to “mental and physical torture” in Japan. They have accused Japan of persecuting the couple to save faces after the embarrassment of Ghosn’s escape.
Michael Taylor, a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and private security specialist who has historically been hired by parents to rescue abducted children, has never denied the allegations.
He gave an interview to Vanity Fair magazine for a story last year detailing the mission. When asked why he did it, he replied with the Special Forces motto: “De oppresso liber” or “to free the oppressed,” the magazine reported.
Michael Taylor refused to discuss the details of the case in an interview with The Associated Press last month as it may face trial in Japan. But he insisted his son wasn’t involved and wasn’t even in Japan when Ghosn left.
Ghosn, who became one of the most powerful executives in the auto industry as a result of a trend reversal at the Japanese manufacturer, was released on bail after his arrest in November 2018 for under-reporting his future income and breaching his trust by diverting his Nissan money personal gain.
Ghosn has denied the allegations, stating that he fled to avoid “political persecution”.
Prosecutors have called it one of the “most brazen and best orchestrated acts of escape in recent history”. Authorities say the Taylors received at least $ 1.3 million for their help.
On the day of his escape, Michael Taylor flew to Osaka on a chartered jet with another man, George-Antoine Zayek. He carried two large black boxes and pretended to be a musician with audio equipment. Meanwhile, Ghosn, who was bailed out, went to the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo and met with Peter Taylor, who was already in Japan, authorities say.
The elder Taylor and Zayek met the other two at the Grand Hyatt and they separated shortly afterwards. Peter Taylor got on a flight to China while the others got on a bullet train and returned to another hotel near the airport where Taylor and Zayek had booked a room. They all went in; Only Ghosn’s rescuers were seen going out.
According to authorities, Ghosn was in one of the large black boxes. At the airport, the boxes passed a security checkpoint without being checked and were loaded onto a private jet bound for Turkey, officials said.
The Taylors had hired attorneys linked to former President Donald Trump, including former White House attorney Ty Cobb, to get Trump to block extradition before he resigned.
In his interview with the AP, Michael Taylor pleaded with President Joe Biden to intervene, saying he felt betrayed that the US would try to hand him over to Japan after serving in the country. However, the Biden government refused to block the extradition.
Under Trump. The US State Department approved the handover of the men to Japan in October. However, a federal judge in Boston stopped extradition shortly after his attorneys filed an urgency motion. The judge denied their petition in January, and the Boston-based 1st Circuit appellate court later declined its offer to postpone the extradition while they appealed that ruling.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer turned down an offer for more time on appeal last month, paving the way for the men to be handed over to Japan.
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