15:15, February 13 46 0 theguardian.com

2021-02-13 15:15:04
Accused Ghosn accomplices lose high court bid to avoid extradition to Japan

The US supreme court on Saturday cleared the way for the extradition of an American father and son wanted by Japan in the escape of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn.

Justice Stephen Breyer denied an attempt to put the extradition on hold, to give Michael and Peter Taylor time to pursue an appeal in their case challenging US officials’ plans to hand them over to Japan.

Michael Taylor, a US army special forces veteran, and his son are accused of helping Ghosn, who led the Japanese automaker for two decades, flee the country last year with Ghosn tucked in a box on a private jet. The flight went to Turkey then to Lebanon, where Ghosn has citizenship but which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn was on bail at the time, awaiting trial on allegations that he underreported his income and committed a breach of trust by diverting Nissan money for his personal gain.

Ghosn said he fled because he could not expect a fair trial, was subjected to unfair conditions in detention and was barred from meeting his wife under his bail conditions. Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing.

Lawyers for the Taylors argue the men cannot legally be extradited and will be treated unfairly in the Japan. Their lawyers told the supreme court in a brief filed on Friday that the men would face harsh treatment in the Japanese criminal justice system.

“The issues raised by petitioners merit full and careful consideration, and the stakes are enormous for them,” their attorneys wrote.

“The very least the US courts owe the petitioners is a full chance to litigate these issues, including exercising their appellate rights, before they are consigned to the fate that awaits them at the hands of the Japanese government.”

US authorities had said they would not hand the men over to Japan while their bid for a stay was pending before Breyer, an attorney for the Taylors said.

Michael Taylor told the Associated Press he feels betrayed that the US would try to turn him over to Japan after his service to the country. Taylor refused to discuss the details of the case because of the possibility that he could be tried in Japan, but he insisted his son had no involvement.

The first US circuit court of appeals in Boston refused on Thursday to put the extradition on hold, finding that the Taylors are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their case. The Taylors have been held at a suburban Boston jail since last May.