U.S. judge rejects immediate bail for men allegedly helped Ghosn escape

Carlos Ghosn Renault-Nissan

A U.S. judge on Thursday declined to grant immediate bail to a Massachusetts father and son who are attempting to avoid extradition to Japan, after being alleged of helping smuggle former Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn out of that country.

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani in Boston said Michael Taylor and Peter Taylor, who are arrested since their May 20 arrests, have yet to show they deserve freedom, in part because a magistrate judge also weighing bail is yet to make a ruling.

The Taylors stated bail was warranted as they might contract COVID-19 at the suburban Norfolk County Correctional Center, where 36 inmates and staff have tested positive for the virus. Michael Taylor, a Special Forces veteran, is missing part of one lung.

Talwani also stated the Taylors have not shown it likely there was no probable cause to arrest them, after they argued that the offenses described in Japan’s extradition requests would not support their extradition.

“Petitioners have not demonstrated here the high probability of success required to establish special circumstances justifying release on bail in an extradition case while these legal issues are being resolved,” Talwani wrote.

Ghosn escaped in December 2019 to his childhood home of Lebanon via Turkey from Japan, where he had been under house arrest on financial crimes charges. He was smuggled in a large black box to an awaiting private jet.

Lebanon lacks a extradition treaty with Japan.

During a Wednesday hearing, federal prosecutor Stephen Hassink called the Taylors an “extraordinary flight risk”.

Lawyers for the Taylors disagree and have said their clients will comply with all reasonable bail conditions.

On Tuesday, the magistrate judge, Donald Cabell, declined to quash the Taylors’ arrest warrants. He has yet to describe why. Another hearing before Talwani is planned for July 28.

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