Bid to avoid extradition over Ghosn’s escape is flawed interpretation, says U.S.

Carlos Ghosn in Norway

U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday stated that a former Green Beret and his son, wanted by Japan for helping former Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn flee the country, were advancing a “flawed” interpretation of Japanese law to combat their extradition.

Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, were arrested in Massachusetts last month at Japan’s request over accusations of smuggling Ghosn out of the country on December 29, 2019, in a box while he was out on bail awaiting trial on charges related to financial misconduct. Ghosn denies any wrongdoing.

Lawyers for the Taylors in a motion earlier week asked a federal judge in Boston to quash the provisional warrants issued in May over the arrests, claiming that “bail jumping” is not a crime in Japan.

Defense lawyers argued that helping someone jump bail was not a crime as well. While Japan issued arrest warrants for the Taylors in January, the lawyers stated that the crime stated in the warrants is an immigration offense and a non-extraditable misdemeanor.

But U.S. prosecutors in a brief submitted on Tuesday said it would be “unprecedented” for the extradition case at this junction to be tossed on a “flawed interpretation of Japanese law and a mischaracterization of the facts”.

While Japan has not yet officially sought their extradition, the country has confirmed that Taylors’ conduct constitutes a felony, U.S. prosecutors stated.

“The purported loophole through which the Taylors seek to evade justice simply does not exist,” according to U.S. prosecutors.

Prosecutors said that neither Taylor, including Michael, a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, and private security specialist, should be released as they are flight risks.

Abbe Lowell, the Taylors’ lawyer, said he is currently reviewing the filing.

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