Ghosn escape accomplices return to US, lawyer confirms

The American father and son duo who helped former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn dramatically escape from Japan have been returned to the United States after spending 20 months in Japanese jails, their lawyer said Monday.

Former Green Beret operative Michael Taylor, 62, was being held at a Los Angeles detention facility with a release date set for January 1, 2023, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, while son Peter Taylor was home with family in Massachusetts, their lawyer Paul Kelly told AFP, confirming reporting by The Wall Street Journal.

The Taylors' return to America is the latest twist in the extraordinary Ghosn saga, which began with the former auto tycoon's shock arrest in 2018 on financial misconduct allegations.

The men admitted helping smuggle Ghosn onto a private jet inside an audio equipment box in an audacious December 2019 escape from Japan while he was on bail.

Ghosn, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian passports, is now an international fugitive in Lebanon. The former chairman and chief executive of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance says he fled Japan because he did not believe he would receive a fair trial.

The Taylors were extradited from the United States to Japan in March 2021. In July that year Michael Taylor was sentenced to 24 months in prison and son Peter to 20 months, after apologising at previous hearings.

According to the prosecution, the Ghosn family paid the Taylors more than $860,000 for preparation and logistical costs, and $500,000 in cryptocurrency for lawyers' fees.

Ghosn has always denied the charges against him, arguing they were cooked up by Nissan executives who opposed his attempts to more closely integrate the firm with French partner Renault.

Last March former Nissan executive Greg Kelly was handed a six-month suspended sentence by a Tokyo court over allegations he helped Ghosn attempt to conceal income.

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