US judge approves extradition of 2 wanted to escape ex-Nissan president

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BOSTON – A U.S. judge on Thursday paved the way for the extradition of an American father and son wanted by Japan for removing former Nissan Motor Co. chairman Carlos Ghosn from the country while he waited his trial.

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani has rejected a request to prevent the United States from handing Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, back to Japan. His decision comes three months after the US State Department said it approved their extradition.

Talwani suspended their extradition in October after their lawyers filed an urgent petition. The judge said in her ruling Thursday that US authorities had “sufficiently established” that the actions the Taylor are accused of committing “constituted an extraditable offense.”

Lawyers for the men, including former Trump White House lawyer Ty Cobb, had pressured State Department and White House officials to block the extradition.

Another of their lawyers, Paul Kelly, declined to comment on Thursday. The Taylors’ legal team have said in court documents that they plan to appeal to the Boston-based 1st US Court of Appeals.

“This distinguished former member of the US military special forces and his son have committed no crime and are being pursued by Japan in an attempt to save face after Carlos Ghosn leaves their country,” said Cobb and lawyer Paul Kelly in a statement. statement emailed after October State Department decision.

The Taylors are wanted by Japan so they can stand trial for aiding the old Nissan 7201,
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President fled the country last year with Ghosn hiding in a box on a private jet. Ghosn had been released on bail and was awaiting trial over allegations he underestimated his future income and breached trust by embezzling Nissan money for his own personal gain.

Ghosn, who ran Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, saving it from near bankruptcy, denies any wrongdoing. He said he fled because he could not expect a fair trial, was subjected to unfair conditions of detention and was prohibited from meeting his wife in under his bail conditions.

Ghosn is now in Lebanon, of which he is a national but which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

The Taylors have not denied helping Ghosn escape, but insist they cannot be extradited because they say what they are accused of is not a felony under Japanese law. They have been behind bars in Massachusetts since their arrest in May.

Prosecutors described it as one of the “most brazen and best-orchestrated escape acts in recent history, involving a dizzying array of luxury hotel encounters, fake personalities, train travel to high speed and private jet charter.

Michael Taylor traveled to Osaka on a chartered jet from Dubai with another man, George-Antoine Zayek, carrying two large black boxes and told airport workers they were musicians carrying equipment audio on December 29, 2019, authorities said. Meanwhile, Ghosn visited the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo and met Peter Taylor, who was already in Japan.

The elder Taylor and Zayek joined after a brief stop to rent a separate room near the airport. Shortly after their arrival, the group left the Grand Hyatt and went their separate ways. Peter Taylor took a flight to China, officials said. The others boarded a high speed train and returned to a hotel where Taylor and Zayek had reserved a room. They all entered; only two were seen on the way out.

Authorities said Ghosn was inside one of the large black boxes dragged by the two at Japan’s Kansai International Airport, authorities said. The boxes passed a security checkpoint unchecked and were loaded onto a private jet bound for Turkey, officials said in court documents.

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