Father, son admit role in Carlos Ghosn escape

An American father and son have admitted helping ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan in 2019.

Former US Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor, 60, and his son Peter, 28, were extradited from the US over claims they smuggled Mr Ghosn out of Japan in a luggage box on a private jet as he awaited trial.

At a court in Tokyo, the pair said they did not contest the facts laid out by prosecutors in an indictment.

They face up to three years in prison.

Mr Taylor and his son replied “no” when asked by a judge if there was anything wrong with the charges submitted by the Tokyo Prosecutors’ office on Monday, news agency Reuters said.

Prosecutors have accused the two men of orchestrating Mr Ghosn’s escape to Lebanon from western Japan’s Kansai airport in December 2019 and receiving $1.3m for their services.

The former Nissan boss is an international fugitive living in his childhood home of Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Mr Ghosn was on bail while awaiting trial on four counts of financial misconduct, which he denies, when he managed to slip past authorities in a case and onto a private jet, the court heard.

US prosecutors called his escape “one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history”.

Private security specialist Mr Taylor and his son fought a months-long battle to avoid extradition over the case, before the US Supreme Court handed them over to the Japanese authorities in March.

Tokyo prosecutors declined to comment on the pair’s arraignment before trial. Reuters news agency reported that Japan’s conviction rate was 99 per cent.

After his arrival in Lebanon, Mr Ghosn had said he was a “hostage” in Japan, where he said he was left with a choice between dying there or running.

A Turkish court convicted an executive of Turkish jet company MNG and two pilots over their role in flying him out of Japan.

Mr Ghosn was first arrested on charges of financial misconduct in November 2018 for allegedly under-reporting his pay package for the five years to 2015. -Reuters

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