Father and son accused of orchestrating Ghosn’s escape plead guilty

The American father and son accused of orchestrating Carlos Ghosn’s elaborate escape from Japan via high-speed train, private jet and musical equipment box have pleaded guilty in a Tokyo court.

Michael Taylor, 60 old green beret, and her son Peter, 28, were extradited to Japan this year after their 2020 arrest in Boston. They face up to three years in prison.

The two appeared handcuffed on Monday before a panel of three judges from the Tokyo District Court. Prosecutors read a statement outlining details of the plot to extract the old Nissan chair from a large house in central Tokyo in Lebanon after changing planes in Turkey.

Escape, which involved moving Ghosn between hotels in Tokyo and Osaka before hiding him in a specially modified crate and pretending it was concert gear, took months of planning.

This included determining which of the Japanese airports had security weaknesses that could be exploited at the crucial moment the crate was transferred to a private jet without its human contents being checked.

Ghosn, who remains in Lebanon and complaints that his daring escape was an attempt to “flee injustice,” faced multiple charges financial misconduct. Ghosn denies the charges.

When the Chief Justice asked if there was an error in the prosecutor’s statement that he aided Ghosn’s escape, Michael Taylor, wearing a mask, dark suit and white shirt, replied: ” No, your honor. ” Her son also answered “No” to a similar question.

In front of the Taylor extradition from the United States, their lawyers had pleaded their innocence, claiming that since the act of “skipping the bail” was technically not a crime in Japan, the act of helping someone to do it couldn’t be either. .

On Monday, the couple did not dispute the allegations made by prosecutors. But their lawyer sought to downplay Peter’s role in the conspiracy, claiming his involvement was “a mere accomplice of Michael”, though father and son were given equal responsibility in the indictment.

According to prosecutors’ opening statement, Ghosn had planned his escape from Japan from around June 2019 and asked Michael to orchestrate the plan initially through his wife, Carole.

Four months later, Ghosn made transfers of $ 862,500 to a company run by Peter to cover the costs of the private jets following multiple secret meetings between the two in Tokyo. The project was reportedly ultimately carried out with the help of Georges zayek, a private security contractor and Lebanese national who is also wanted by Japanese authorities.

Day one of the trial revealed how Ghosn easily got around what his wife described as Japan’s “punitive and inhumane” release conditions, as the former president frequently communicated with the Taylors through the Signal messaging app. using a phone contract set up by his sister, and held secret meetings in Tokyo at his attorney’s office, prosecutors said.

After Japanese authorities issued an arrest warrant for the Taylors following the escape, prosecutors said Michael requested legal fees and Ghosn transferred bitcoins worth around 500,000 $ to Peter’s account through his son’s account. Towards the end of Monday’s session, Peter reportedly confessed that helping Ghosn was the worst thing he had done in his life.

Greg Kelly, Ghosn’s former deputy, is also on trial in Tokyo, combat charges that he helped the former Nissan chairman hide the true scale of his salary.

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