A Tokyo court sentenced two Americans, a former Green Beret and his son, to prison on Monday for assisting Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Nissan, in his dramatic 2019 escape from Japan.
Michael Taylor, 60, and his 28-year-old son, Peter Taylor, were sentenced to two years and one-and-a-half years in prison, respectively, after facing up to three years in prison.
The two Americans will be given credit for 90 days already served in Japan, according to the court.
Last month, the two admitted to smuggling Ghosn out of Japan by posing as musicians and concealing him in an equipment case in December 2019.
“This case enabled Ghosn, a defendant of serious crime, to escape overseas,” Hideo Nirei, the chief judge, said while explaining the judgement. “One year and a half has passed, but there is no prospect of the trial being held. The consequences of this case are very large.”
The Taylors were paid $1.3 million for their services and another $500,000 for legal fees, according to prosecutors.
Ghosn, a former auto tycoon, was accused of defrauding Nissan investors and enriching himself at the expense of his company in Japan.
The Taylors admitted to assisting Ghosn in his daring escape, in which he hid inside an audio equipment case and was flown from Tokyo to Lebanon, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.
Ghosn has maintained his innocence, claiming that he fled Japan because he lacked trust in the justice system, especially as a foreigner.
Following a months-long extradition battle in which their attorneys claimed they could face torture in Japan, the Taylors were sent from the United States to Japan in March to stand trial for their role in the escape. They were allegedly held in solitary confinement in the same Tokyo jail where Ghosn had been detained years before.
According to the New York Times, the elder Taylor has a long history in international private security and assisting escapees, including assisting the New York Times in the release of one of its reporters who was kidnapped by the Taliban.
Michael Taylor and his son, both Americans, were paid $1.3 million for their roles in Ghosn’s escape and asked for an additional $500,000 to cover legal costs after Japan demanded their arrest.
According to the outlet, Michael Taylor visited Ghosn’s childhood home of Lebanon frequently in 2019 to plan the escape. Carole Ghosn, Ghosn’s wife, is said to have sought their assistance.
Ghosn, for his part, is still on the run in Lebanon. He faces charges in Japan that he enriched himself at the expense of his employer by understating his compensation in Nissan’s financial statements by $85 million over a decade.
In Tokyo, Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive accused of assisting Ghosn in concealing his compensation, is also on trial. Kelly has denied the allegations as well.