Supreme Court OKs extradition of U.S. citizens accused of 'brazen' escape of Carlos Ghosn

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John Fritze, USA TODAY
·2 min read
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WASHINGTON – An American father and son accused of sneaking former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn into Lebanon in a music equipment box can be extradited to Japan to face charges in a case with the feel of a Hollywood thriller, the Supreme Court ruled Saturday.

Justice Stephen Breyer denied the request without explanation.

Michael Taylor, a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, and his son Peter met with Ghosn, who had been indicted on financial crimes stemming from his tenure at Nissan, in late 2019 in a Japanese hotel room. Security footage showed Taylor leaving the hotel with luggage – including two large audio cases – that were loaded onto a private jet.

Ghosn, who had been released after posting bail, announced days later that he had arrived in Lebanon, a country that does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

More: How did Ghosn escape? Was former Nissan CEO stuffed in a box?

More: Former Nissan chairman Ghosn says he left Japan over ‘injustice’

But the United States does have an extradition treaty, and the Taylors were both arrested in Massachusetts in May. They filed an emergency request at the Supreme Court on Friday to block their extradition to Japan, arguing that they could be subjected to torture and that Japanese authorities had not met the criteria for extradition.

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, center, arrives at Tokyo District Court for a pre-trial meeting in Tokyo Thursday, May 23, 2019.
Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, center, arrives at Tokyo District Court for a pre-trial meeting in Tokyo Thursday, May 23, 2019.

Without intervention, their lawyers told the court, Taylor and his son would face "imminent extradition" to Japan, where they could face "conditions that would never be permitted by any U.S. court," including "lengthy interrogation" and "mental and physical torture."

Federal authorities described the case as "one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history" in a court filing last year and said that the Ghosn family paid the Taylors at least $1.3 million for the escape. The two men, both U.S. citizens, told the court they feared being extradited to Japan imminently.

Japanese prosecutors and Nissan accused Ghosn of secretly arranging excessive pay for himself. He has denied the allegations, which led to his firing as Nissan's chairman. The former chairman of the global alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi has said he bolted Japan to escape "injustice" in the country's judicial system, where 99% of suspects are convicted of their alleged crimes.

Contributing: Nathan Bomey

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Supreme Court ruling sends Americans to Japan in Carlos Ghosn case