2 Americans Get Prison Over Nissan Executive’s Escape From Japan in a Box

The father and son each received sentences of more than a year and had confessed to helping the executive, Carlos Ghosn, escape.

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TOKYO — A Japanese court on Monday sentenced two Americans to prison for their role in helping the former Nissan leader Carlos Ghosn skip bail and flee Japan.

Michael Taylor, 60, was given a sentence of two years and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 28, received one year and eight months. The men helped to smuggle Mr. Ghosn onto a private jet and whisk him to Lebanon as he awaited trial in Japan on charges of financial wrongdoing.

The men admitted their role in the escape during a court proceeding in Tokyo in June. In handing down the sentence, the judge said that their actions had caused “extreme damage” to the Japanese justice system and that time in prison was “unavoidable,” according to local news reports.

Mr. Ghosn escaped Japan in 2019 just before New Year’s Day. He was on bail after having been arrested multiple times and believed Japan’s justice system would never give him a fair trial.

The Taylors helped him plan and execute an escape, part of which included being hidden in a box to be put on a flight first to Turkey and then to Beirut.

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Security camera footage shows the elder Mr. Taylor, center, arriving in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2019.Credit…DHA, via Associated Press

The father and son returned to the United States, where the American authorities arrested them in the spring of 2020. After months of attempts to block extradition, they were handed over to Japan in March and put on trial three months later.

In court last month, the Taylors expressed remorse for their role in the escape.

Mr. Ghosn remains in Lebanon, where he has waged a campaign to rehabilitate his image and bring attention to what he has characterized as the failings of Japan’s justice system. He has said that he committed no wrongdoing and that the charges against him were the product of corporate intrigue backed by the Japanese government.

Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan, effectively protecting Mr. Ghosn from sharing the Taylors’ fate.

Another former Nissan executive, an American named Greg Kelly, is currently on trial in Japan on charges related to hiding Mr. Ghosn’s compensation. He says he is innocent.

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