Ghosn accomplices tell court they ‘regret’ escape role

by AFP

An American father-son duo told a Tokyo court Tuesday they now “regret” their role in helping former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn jump bail and flee Japan, local media reported.

Former special forces operative Michael Taylor and his son Peter face up to three years in prison for their part in helping smuggle Ghosn onto a private jet in an audio equipment case so he could fly to Lebanon, which has no extradition agreement with Japan.

Local media said the two Americans, who have admitted the allegations against them, bowed deeply in court after offering contrition.

Michael Taylor said Ghosn and his wife Carole had claimed that disappearing while on bail was “not a crime” in Japan, national broadcaster NHK reported. 

Taylor added that he was motivated to help in part because of family ties to the Ghosns.

“I deeply regret my actions and sincerely apologise for causing difficulties for the judicial process and for the Japanese people,” Bloomberg News quoted him as telling the court.

“After more than 400 days in jail, I have had a lot of time to reflect,” added his son Peter.

The duo made their first appearance in court earlier this month, while Ghosn remains an international fugitive in Lebanon.

The former auto tycoon was out on bail while awaiting trial on four counts of financial misconduct when he fled, transiting in Turkey before arriving in Lebanon.

The December 2019 escape was hugely embarrassing for Japanese authorities. US prosecutors called it “one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history”.

Ghosn was questioned last month by French investigators in Lebanon over a series of alleged financial improprieties.

His former Nissan aide Greg Kelly is on trial in Tokyo over allegations he helped underreport Ghosn’s salary. A verdict in his case is expected later this year.