No bail for 2 accused of helping ex-Nissan boss escape Japan

FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2020, file photo, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn speaks to Japanese media during an interview in Beirut, Lebanon. Prosecutors filed documents on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, detailing wire transfers by Ghosn to a company linked to one of the men accused of helping smuggle him out of Japan in a box in 2019. (Meika Fujio/Kyodo News via AP)
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A Massachusetts father and son who prosecutors say helped smuggle Nissan’s former chairman out of Japan last year were denied bail by a federal judge in Boston on Friday.

Michael Taylor, a 59-year-old U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, and his 27-year-old son, Peter Taylor, had sought immediate release while they challenge Japan’s extradition request.

But Judge Donald Cabell, in his 18-page ruling, said “there is a presumption against bail in extradition cases” and defendants “must demonstrate ‘special circumstances’ that justify their release on bail.”

Paul Kelly, a lawyer for the Harvard, Massachusetts residents, said his clients maintain they did not commit an extraditable offense.

“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,” he said in a statement.

The Taylors’ lawyers had argued the pair were unlawfully arrested and can’t be extradited because “bail jumping” is not a crime in Japan and, therefore, helping someone evade their bail conditions isn’t a crime, either.

Prosecutors countered that the Taylors have the skills and resources to flee. They provided evidence that Carlos Ghosn wired two payments totaling more than $860,000 to Promote Fox LLC, which prosecutors say is managed by Peter Taylor.

The Taylors are wanted in Japan on allegations that they helped Ghosn flee the country in December while he was out on bail and awaiting trial on financial misconduct allegations.

Authorities say the Taylors helped sneak Ghosn out of a hotel in a large box and then out of Japan on a private jet. The flight took Ghosn to Lebanon, where Ghosn has citizenship but which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn said he fled because he could not expect a fair trial and was subjected to unfair conditions in detention. He has denied the financial misconduct allegations.