TOKYO – A Japanese prosecutor on Thursday urged the U.S. to extradite two Americans accused of helping Nissan’s former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, flee the country while he was out on bail.
Deputy Chief Prosecutor Takahiro Saito said Japan has issued arrest warrants for Michael and Peter Taylor for allegedly helping a criminal escape.
“A judge has decided an arrest warrant should be issued for them,” Saito said, adding, “We are negotiating with the U.S. authorities.”
Michael Taylor, a 59-year-old former Green Beret and private security specialist, and his son Peter Taylor, 27, were arrested last month in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts.
They are wanted in Japan for allegedly helping Ghosn flee to Lebanon in December, jumping bail while he was awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges.
Prosecutors say Ghosn broke the law by violating bail conditions that required him to stay in Japan, mostly at his Tokyo home.
Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan but the U.S. does.
Lawyers for the Taylors said in a legal document filed Monday that “bail jumping” is not a crime in Japan and, therefore, helping someone evade their bail conditions isn’t a crime either.
Saito said that if convicted in Japan, the Taylors could face a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a 300,000 yen ($2,800) fine.
Authorities say the Taylors helped sneak Ghosn out of Japan on a private jet with the former Nissan boss tucked away in a large box.
Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades, has repeatedly said he is innocent. He said he fled because he believes he could not expect a fair trial in Japan.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama