People on trial in Japan on prices of Ghosn’s escape – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate
TOKYO (AP) – Two Americans accused of helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn escape Japan while charged with financial misconduct agreed on Monday that they would partake in a plan for him, to flee the country.
Testimony by Michael Taylor and his son Peter on the opening day of their Tokyo trial suggests the couple have no plans to crack down on the charges of aiding and abetting a criminal. This carries a possible sentence of up to three years in prison.
Prosecutors read a statement accusing Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, and Peter Taylor of hiding Ghosn in a musical equipment box. It was loaded onto a jet in the western city of Osaka that flew it via Turkey to Lebanon in December 2019. “You helped him escape,” the statement said.
After a brief discussion with Chief Judge Hideo Nirei and defense attorneys, the Taylors agreed that there were no errors in the statement.
The Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts last year and extradited to Japan in March. Unlike the US, Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan. Ghosn has French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship.
Authorities say Ghosn hired the Taylors for at least $ 1.3 million. Monday’s indictment stated that $ 500,000 would be transferred to Peter Taylor through Ghosn’s son Anthony’s account.
Ghosn ran Nissan Motor Co. for two decades before he was arrested in 2018. He was charged with forging securities reports for failing to adequately report his compensation and for breaching trust in using Nissan money for personal gain. He says he’s innocent.
Peter Taylor said in a statement to a Massachusetts court in January that he met Ghosn in Japan in 2019 to introduce his digital marketing firm to help mend Ghosn’s tarnished reputation. He said Ghosn asked him to bring him gifts, food and DVDs from his wife, and to bring gifts, including to relatives in Lebanon.
Peter Taylor said he left Japan for Shanghai on December 29, 2019 and was not in Japan when Ghosn is accused of fleeing. He denied having had any contact with his father at the time, according to a Massachusetts District Court document.
Monday’s indictment said a third person, George-Antoine Zayek, helped Michael Taylor with the luggage Ghosn had hidden in it. Zayek was not arrested.
Ghosn said he fled Japan on bail because he did not expect a fair trial. More than 99% of criminal cases in Japan result in convictions.
No Japanese executives have been charged in the scandal at Nissan, the Yokohama-based maker of the Leaf electric car, the March subcompact and the luxury Infiniti models.
Extraditions between Japan and the US are relatively rare, even for serious crimes. The possible sentence of three years in prison is the minimum for extradition.
Separately, another American, Greg Kelly, a former executive vice president of Nissan, is on trial for underestimating Ghosn’s compensation. That trial began in September, also in the Tokyo District Court.
Kelly says he was innocent and was only involved in finding legal ways to pay Ghosn more to keep him from going to a rival automaker.
Prior to his arrest, Ghosn was a star in the auto industry for orchestrating Nissan’s recovery from the brink of bankruptcy after being sent to Japan by his French alliance partner Renault in 1999.
Ghosn cut his salary by about 1 billion yen ($ 10 million) to half his salary from 2010 when Japan began to require high salaries from executives.
The concern was that his relatively high pay could be viewed as unfavorable, as top Japanese executives tend to receive lower salary packages than their counterparts in other countries.
At the heart of Kelly’s trial is whether Ghosn’s salary was against the law in deferring reportable compensation. Several Nissan executives, including several other non-Japanese people, were aware of the deficit.