Pair of Americans apologize to Tokyo court for helping Ghosn flee Japan
Two American men who were arrested and extradited to Japan for allegedly helping former Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn flee to Lebanon apologized to Japanese officials in court Tuesday.
Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, said while holding back sobs in Tokyo court, “I deeply regret my actions and sincerely apologize for causing difficulties for the judicial process and for the Japanese people,” according to The Associated Press.
“I’m sorry,” he added while bowing to a three-judge panel.
Taylor and his son, Peter, face charges in Japan over their alleged role in helping Ghosn flee the country in late 2019 in violation of his bail for a slew of financial crimes from his time leading Nissan.
The AP reported that Peter Taylor on Tuesday also expressed his regret for the “trouble” he had caused for Japan’s legal system.
“I must apologize to the people of Japan,” he reportedly said while bowing.
“After more than 400 days in jail, I have had a lot of time to reflect,” he added. “I take full responsibility and deeply apologize. I am sorry.”
The Taylors earlier this month said they did not plan to push back on the allegations of aiding in Ghosn’s escape, which the AP noted is Japan’s equivalent of pleading guilty to charges.
The Taylors’ defense team said they want a speedy trial following the apologies from their clients. The father and son face up to three years in prison for the Japanese charges.
Michael Taylor said during his apology Tuesday that he had been inaccurately told by Ghosn and his wife, Carole Ghosn, that the ex-auto manufacturer executive was being mistreated in Japanese custody.
Taylor said that he was informed by Carole Ghosn that her husband was being “tortured” while in solitary confinement.
However, Taylor said Tuesday, “I didn’t know much about Japan. All I know is that the Japanese are the friendliest people I’ve ever bumped into,” according to the AP.
The Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts last May and were extradited to Japan in March after the Supreme Court denied a request from the Taylors for the court’s intervention.
The AP and other news outlets reported last month that French investigators had begun questioning Carlos Ghosn, who is facing multiple investigations into his financial dealings.
Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing and told the AP in a May interview that he was the victim of an attempted corporate coup to oust him due to a drop in Nissan’s financial performance.
“There has been a lot of collateral damage … but I don’t think I’m responsible for that,” he said at the time, adding that the “people responsible for that are the people who organized the plot” to remove him.