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TOKYO – A Japanese court sentenced two Americans to jail on Monday for helping former Nissan leader Carlos Ghosn skip bail and flee Japan.
Michael Taylor, 60, was sentenced to two years in prison and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 28, received one year and eight months. The men helped smuggle Mr. Ghosn onto a private jet and take him to Lebanon while he was awaiting trial for financial offenses in Japan.
The men admitted their role in the escape during a trial in Tokyo in June. When delivering the verdict, the judge said that their actions “caused extreme damage” to the Japanese judicial system and that time in jail was “inevitable” according to local news reports.
Mr Ghosn fled Japan just before the New Year in 2019. He was on bail after being arrested several times and believed that the Japanese judicial system would never give him a fair trial.
The Taylors helped him plan and conduct an escape, which included hiding in a box, to fly first to Turkey and then to Beirut.
Father and son returned to the United States, where they were arrested by American authorities in spring 2020. After months of trying to prevent extradition, they were extradited to Japan in March and tried three months later.
Last month in court the Taylors regretted their role in the escape.
Mr Ghosn remains in Lebanon where he is running a campaign to rehabilitate his image and draw attention to the weaknesses in the Japanese judicial system that he has deemed neglected. He said he had not committed any wrongdoing and that the charges against him were the product of corporate intrigues supported by the Japanese government.
Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan that effectively protects Mr. Ghosn from sharing the fate of the Taylors.
Another former Nissan executive, an American named Greg Kelly, is currently on trial in Japan for hiding Mr Ghosn’s compensation. He says he’s innocent.