Michael Taylor was sentenced on Monday to two years in prison, while his son Peter Was sentenced to one year and eight months.
He was accused in December 2019 of helping a criminal in the escape of Ghosn, who hid in a large box that was flown on a private jet from Turkey to Lebanon. Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on charges of underreporting his compensation and breach of trust in using Nissan Motor Company money for personal gain. He says that he is innocent, and he leaves because he could not expect a fair trial in Japan.
Taylor was arrested in Massachusetts in May 2020 and extradited to Japan in March. During his trial, he apologized saying that he had been misled by Ghosn about Japan’s criminal justice system. Michael Taylor cried and said he was “broken”, denying that he had benefited monetarily because the $1.3 million prosecutors said Ghosn paid him only covered expenses.
Taylor’s defense attorney, Keiji Isaji, called for an early hearing. Many Japanese trials last for months if not years.
The maximum punishment for helping a criminal in Japan is three years in prison. Prosecutors had sought two years and 10 months in prison for Michael Taylor and two years and six months for his son.
Taylor’s defense had argued for a suspended sentence for both, who had spent 10 months in custody in the US before their extradition.
In December 2019, Ghosn left his home in Tokyo and took a bullet train to Osaka. According to prosecutors, at a hotel there, he hid in a large box, which allegedly contained audio equipment, with air holes so he could breathe.
Another man, Georges-Antoine Zayek, is accused of running away, but has not been arrested.
Separately, former Nissan top executive, Greg Kelly, is on trial in Tokyo on charges of falsifying securities reports on Ghosn’s compensation. Kelly, arrested at the same time as Ghosn, also insists he is innocent.
The verdict in Kelly’s trial, which began in September last year, is not expected to come until next year. More than 99% of Japanese criminal prosecutions result in conviction. If convicted, the charges Kelly faces could carry a maximum prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama