May 18, 2021

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Japan establishes June trial for Americans accused of Ghosn’s escape

Japan establishes June trial for Americans accused of Ghosn's escape

Trial of two Americans accused of helping former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn escape while out on bail opens June 14 at Tokyo District Court

Michael Taylor and his son Peter are accused of hiding Ghosn in a music box so they could flee to Lebanon in late 2019. Taylors have been denied bail at the Tokyo Detention Center and are unavailable for comment. .

Ghosn, arrested in 2018, was awaiting trial on charges of financial misconduct, including underestimating his compensation and breach of trust in hijacking Nissan Motor Co.’s money for personal gain, when he fled. He says he’s innocent.

Japan doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Lebanon, but it does have one with the United States, which extradited the Taylors last month after the US Supreme Court rejected their appeal.

Michael Taylor, with the help of another man, George-Antoine Zayek, hid Ghosn in a large box, which passed through security at Osaka airport in central Japan and was loaded onto a jet. private that flew to Turkey, according to Japanese authorities.

Peter Taylor is accused of meeting Ghosn and contributing to the escape. The Taylors were paid at least $ 1.3 million, authorities say.

The Taylors have argued in US courts that they did not commit a crime because skipping bail is not technically a crime in Japan.

Tokyo prosecutors said they were accused of helping a criminal escape and violating immigration regulations. They face up to three years in prison if convicted.

Although Ghosn’s prospects of facing a trial in Japan are dim, Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive and American, is on trial in Tokyo on charges of underestimating Ghosn’s compensation. He denied the allegations.

Ghosn, credited with successfully driving Nissan for two decades, was concerned about a possible public reaction to his income and suffered a major pay cut in 2010 when disclosure of such executive salaries became required in Japan. .

The goal of Kelly’s trial is whether Ghosn’s various ideas about paying after retirement should have been included in the annual securities report, as well as how much Kelly knew about the plans. Kelly said he was only looking for legal ways to pay Ghosn because he believed it was in Nissan’s interest to stop Ghosn from turning to a rival company.

Japanese executives typically don’t receive the large salaries and stock options that some of their American counterparts do.

During Kelly’s trial, Nissan officials said they went to prosecutors to have Ghosn arrested because they were concerned that Nissan’s French alliance partner Renault would gain more power and actually engulf the Japanese automaker. Ghosn was sent by Renault in 1999 to save Nissan from the brink of bankruptcy.