Ex-Green Beret denied bail in Ghosn extradition case

Jack Murphy
July 13, 2020 - 10:42 am
Carlos Ghosn

Photo by Hironaka Law Office via Getty Images

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A federal judge in Boston has denied bail to former Special Forces soldier Michael Taylor and his son Peter who were arrested in May as Japan asked for their extradition.

Taylor is alleged to have smuggled Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn out of Japan to Lebanon as he was facing corruption charges and was on house arrest. In a previous interview with Taylor, he declined to comment on whether or not he had smuggled Ghosn out of Japan, but offered some thoughts about why he was being charged in the first place.

Ghosn was the Chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance he had helped broker. 

"He wanted Renault to take it over," Taylor told Connecting Vets, "and the Japanese said hell no."

Having a French company take over a Japanese one threatened their national pride, Taylor explained. Despite such a merger not being illegal under Japanese law, "The corporation went straight to prosecutors and made it illegal because they don't want a French company taking over," Taylor explained.

According to Taylor, the Nissan Chairman would never have received a fair trial in Japan as the conviction rate there is virtually 100 percent.

Taylor allegedly smuggled Ghosn out of the country by packing him into a black music equipment case with air holes drilled into it and loading him onto a private jet bound for Istanbul where they then switched planes and flew on to Ghosn's home country of Lebanon. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan where the former Nissan CEO and Chairman lives today.

In Boston last week, Taylor's lawyer argued to the judge that skipping out on bond is not a crime in Japan and therefore his client committed no offense worthy of honoring the Japanese government's extradition request, AP reports. “We also believe that these two U.S. citizens, one a decorated Special Forces veteran, and the other an impressive young man with no criminal history, should not be held in custody during a pandemic while these issues are being litigated,” their lawyer, Paul Kelly, said in a statement.

The prosecution argued that Taylor has the know-how to escape and evade if he so chooses, evidenced by large sums of money transfers and Taylor's background as a highly trained Green Beret, AP reported.

Judge Donald Cabell ruled against bail, saying that special circumstances would have to be met in an extradition case.

Meanwhile, a grassroots effort is underway by Michael Taylor's oldest son to generate support for his dad and brother. He started a petition on Change.org offering some additional insights.

"Because of Japan’s extradition request, the Justice Department sent 10 men with automatic weapons to our home and seized Mike and Peter in the early morning hours of May 20th. But prosecutors had not done a careful analysis of Japanese law and filled their charging document with falsehoods and inaccuracies," the petition reads in part.

"What is particularly unjust is that Mike and Peter – who have been accused of nothing in the US and convicted of nothing in Japan – are in this situation while Japan has refused to honor the extradition treaty they now expect the US to enforce. Over 250 Americans were injured and 16 died because of faulty air-bags knowingly made by Japanese manufacturer, Takata. Executives were indicted in the US yet Japan refused to extradite them," the petition continues.

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.