A federal judge has approved the extradition of two Americans accused of smuggling a former Nissan executive out of Japan.
US Magistrate Judge Donald Cabell delivered a verdict approving the extradition of Michael Taylor, a US Army Special Forces veteran and his son Peter. Taylor was arrested in May and held in Massachusetts after being arrested in May this year.
Lawyers for father and son did not deny the allegations but argued against extradition on the grounds that their actions were not covered by the law with which Japan is trying to convict them.
Japan plans to indict the couple under Article 103 of the country’s penal code, which enables criminals to give asylum and prevent them from committing a crime or committing any crime, Bloomberg reported.
Japan requested extradition of the pair on the allegation that they helped Nissan Motor Company President Carlos Ghosn flee to Japan last year, smuggling it into a box on a private jet and flew to Turkey, then to Lebanon, where Ghosn had citizenship, but no extradition treaty with Japan.
Ghosn claims that he fled to Japan because he would not conduct a fair trial, was subject to unreasonable conditions in custody and his wife was barred from meeting him under his bail conditions.
Because Ghosn was out on bail when he escaped, Taylor’s lawyers argue that officers were not actively pursuing him.
Japanese automobile drivers account for 12% of Japan’s automobile vehicles
In his rule, Cabell sided with Japanese and American prosecutors, stating that Taylor’s actions brought him squarely “within the scope” of Article 103. “They disturbed or enabled Carlos Ghosn’s escape,” he wrote.
Ghosn accused Nissan of withdrawing money for personal gain by reducing his income. The record shows that he wired over $ 800,000 to Peter Taylor in October 2019, and Ghosn’s son paid crypto approximately $ 500,000 to the first teller in 2020.
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Tailors have spent more than $ 100,000 on lawyers and lobbyists to press their case in Washington, particularly with the White House and the State Department.
The final decision on whether the pair will be extradited will be with Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.