Two Americans will go on trial on Monday in Tokyo for allegedly helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn flee Japan while he was out on bail.
Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, and his son Peter Taylor are suspected in the Houdini-like operation where Ghosn hid in a box for music equipment that was loaded onto a private jet that flew him to Lebanon, via Turkey in December 2019.
Unlike the US, Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan. Ghosn has French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenships.
The Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts in May last year and extradited in March on charges of helping a criminal. The authorities say Ghosn hired the Taylors for at least $1.3 million.
Ghosn was charged with falsifying securities reports in under-reporting his compensation and of breach of trust in using Nissan money for personal gain. Ghosn says he is innocent.
At Monday’s court session, the Tokyo District Prosecutors will outline the allegations against the Taylors before Presiding Judge Hideo Nirei and two other judges.
The Taylors will also likely make statements. They have been held in a Tokyo detention center since arriving in Japan and were not available for comment.
A third person, George-Antoine Zayek, also is suspected of helping Ghosn escape Japan. Zayek has not been arrested.
If convicted, the Taylors face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 300,000 yen ($2,900). Extraditions between Japan and the US are relatively rare, even for serious crimes. The possible penalty of three years in prison is the minimum required for an extradition.