- Two Americans will serve prison time for helping ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn flee Japan in 2019.
- Michael and Peter Taylor admitted to assisting Ghosn’s escape to Lebanon in a metal box.
- Ghosn was on bail and facing trial in Japan on charges of financial misconduct.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A Japanese court sentenced an American father and son to prison for their role in helping smuggle former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon in 2019.
Former US special forces veteran Michael Taylor, 60, was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday for aiding the escape of a criminal, while his son Peter Taylor, 28, was given a one year and eight month-term on the same charges, per the Associated Press.
The Taylors admitted in June to helping the ex-Nissan chairman escape on a private jet from Japan where he had been facing a trial over financial misconduct charges. US authorities arrested the pair in Massachusetts in May 2020 and extradited them to Japan in March this year, per the AP.
Prosecutors said Michael Taylor met Ghosn’s wife Carole in Lebanon in June 2019 where she convinced him to help orchestrate her husband’s escape, The Wall Street Journal reported. The younger Taylor met with Ghosn during numerous trips to Japan over the next few months, with Ghosn transferring more than $860,000 to his marketing firm to finance the plan, the prosecutors said, per the WSJ.
On December 29 2019, the elder Taylor traveled with another man, George-Antoine Zayek, to Kansai International Airport in Osaka posing as musicians. The pair brought a large metal box normally used to transport audio equipment to hide Ghosn, drilling breathing holes in the side, The Washington Post reported, citing Japanese prosecutors.
That same day, Ghosn traveled with the elder Taylor and Zayek to a hotel close to Kansai airport. Only Taylor and Zayek were spotted leaving the building with the metal box. Zayek has not been arrested, The Washington Post reported.
The men helped Ghosn board a private jet from Osaka to Istanbul, and then on to Beirut. Ghosn told the BBC in a recent interview that waiting for the plan to take off was “probably the longest wait” of his life. Lebanon, where Ghosn spent time as a child, does not have an extradition agreement with Japan.
“Because of this case, Ghosn, a defendant facing serious charges, was able to escape overseas,” Chief Judge Hideo Nirei told the courtroom Monday, per The Washington Post, which cited media pool reports from the court hearing. “It has been one and a half years since the escape, and there is still no prospect of a trial. The consequences of this case are very large.”
Japanese authorities arrested Ghosn in 2018 on charges of financial mismanagement. He is accused of underreporting his pay over multiple years and breach of trust, by using Nissan finances for his own personal gain. He denies all charges.
Nissan did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.