Trial to begin of Americans accused of helping Carlos Ghosn flee Japan.

The trial of two Americans suspected of helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn flee Japan while he was out on bail is due to begin in Tokyo.

Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, and his son Peter Taylor are suspected in the operation where Ghosn hid in a box for music equipment that was loaded onto a private jet that flew him to Lebanon, via Turkey in December 2019.

The Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts in May last year and extradited in March on charges of helping a criminal. The authorities say Ghosn hired the Taylors for at least $1.3 million (€1m).

Ghosn led Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Company for two decades before his arrest in November 2018.

He was charged with falsifying securities reports in under-reporting his compensation and of breach of trust in using Nissan money for personal gain. He says he is innocent.

At Monday’s court session, the Tokyo District Prosecutors will outline the allegations against the Taylors before presiding judge Hideo Nirei and two other judges.

The Taylors — who have been held in a Tokyo detention centre since arriving in Japan — are likely to make statements.

Peter Taylor said, in a statement to a Massachusetts court in January, that he met Mr Ghosn in 2019 in Japan to pitch his digital marketing company to repair Mr Ghosn’s tarnished reputation.

He said Mr Ghosn asked him to bring him gifts, food and DVDs from his wife, as well as to deliver gifts, including to family members in Lebanon.

Peter Taylor also said he left Japan for Shanghai on December 29 2019, and was not in Japan at the time of the alleged escape.

He denied he was in touch with his father at that time, according to a document from the Massachusetts District Court.

Mr Ghosn has said he fled Japan while out on bail because he did not expect to get a fair trial.

No Japanese executives have been charged in the scandal at Nissan, the Yokohama-based car manufacturer, March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models.

If convicted, the Taylors face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 300,000 yen (€2,300).

The Irish Times

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