Men alleged of helping Ghosn escape pose flight risk for bail says U.S. judge

Carlos Ghosn Renault-Nissan

A U.S. judge stated on Friday two Massachusetts men pose too much of a risk of flight to be released on bail due to the “spectacular” allegations that they helped orchestrate former Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Cabell stated U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor and his son, Peter Taylor, had also failed to indicate they would likely succeed in fighting the charges underlying Japan’s latest request for their extradition.

Ghosn fled to Lebanon, after being charged with financial wrongdoing related to the alleged understatement of his compensation in Nissan’s financial statements. He rejects any wrongdoing.

Cabell cited accusations that the elder Taylor, a private security specialist, “used his skills and experience to plan and execute a most intricate, sophisticated, and deceptive scheme” to smuggle the businessman out of Japan in a box on December 29, 2019.

He said the Taylors also seemed to have “substantial resources” they could exploit to potentially flee, including about $860,000 that Ghosn seemed to have wired to a company co-managed by Peter Taylor two months prior to the escape.

The Taylors had argued that the charges against them were entirely flawed, as the Japanese penal code does not make it a criminal charge to help someone “bail jump” or escape unless that individual is in custody.

But Cabell said that such argument ignored other “unambiguous” language in the penal code that enables people to face charges if they allow someone’s escape, “without regard to whether the criminal was or was not in confinement”.

Paul Kelly, a lawyer for the Taylors, stated they did not commit an extraditable offense and “should not be held in custody during a pandemic while these issues are being litigated”.

A different judge is set to consider further bail arguments on June 28.

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