Tokyo, July 3 (efe-epa).- Japan has asked the United States to extradite two of its citizens over their alleged involvement in former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn’s escape to Lebanon while he was on bail, official sources said on Friday.
Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office said that the request involves ex-Green Beret Michael Taylor, 59, and his son Peter, 27, who Japanese authorities allege helped Ghosn escape from his Tokyo home on Dec. 29 before landing in Beirut on a private jet after a stopover in Turkey.
The pair were arrested on May 20 in the US state of Massachusetts after Japan issued warrants for their arrest.
The prosecution issued this Friday in Tokyo the Massachusetts order that includes the request to hand over the Taylors, according to the extradition treaty between Tokyo and Washington.
The pair’s legal defense has maintained that violating bail conditions in Japan is not a crime for which extradition is possible.
The prosecution claims that the pair, along with a third man of Lebanese origin, George-Antoine Zayek, were involved in Ghosn’s escape from the country with the knowledge that he was not allowed to leave, thus making them allegedly responsible for violating immigration laws and hiding an accused.
The former head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance was arrested on Nov. 19, 2018 and accused of financial misconduct, including underreporting his compensation from Nissan and misappropriation of the company’s assets for personal gain.
Ghosn left Japan before midnight on Dec. 29 via Kansai International Airport in Osaka prefecture, and traveled to Lebanon, months before the trial was to begin.
In a press conference from Beirut, Ghosn said he was innocent of all allegations and added that his arrest in Tokyo was a result of Nissan’s internal conflict.
The former Nissan chief, who has triple nationality (French, Lebanese and Brazilian), did not go through any immigration controls in Japan as, according to reports, he hid inside a box for transporting musical equipment in order to get on the plane in Osaka.
Ghosn entered Beirut with a French passport and his Lebanese identity card, as reported by the Lebanese authorities at the time. EFE-EPA