A judge in the United States ruled on Friday that two men from Massachusetts could be legally extradited to Japan to face charges that former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled the country last year in a box on a private jet.
US Justice of the Peace Donald Cabell in Boston has dismissed arguments against the extradition of US Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor.
The final decision on extradition, however, rests with the US State Department.
Lawyers for the Taylors had argued that they could not be extradited because the Japanese penal code does not criminalize helping someone “jump on bail”, and that they could only be charged if the Japanese authorities were already pursuing Ghosn before the escape.
But Cabell rejected this argument, saying their conduct “literally puts them within the purview” of the law, making it a felony to harbor or allow the escape of someone who has committed a crime. .
Ghosn fled Japan on December 29, 2019, awaiting trial for financial misconduct, including underestimating his compensation in Nissan’s financial statements.
The former president of Nissan Motor Co has denied any wrongdoing. He said he fled Japan because he could not expect a fair trial, was subjected to unfair conditions of detention and was prohibited from meeting his wife under his bail conditions.
US prosecutors say the Taylors facilitated “one of the most brazen and best orchestrated acts of escape in recent history”, allowing Ghosn to flee to Lebanon.
The leak went first to Turkey, then to Lebanon, where Ghosn has citizenship but which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.
Lawyers for the Taylors did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters news agency on Friday.
Prosecutors said the elder Taylor, a private security specialist, and his son received more than $ 1.3 million from Ghosn and his family members for their services.
The couple were arrested in May at the request of Japan and have been held without bail ever since.