A former Green Beret and his son, accused of helping former Nissan Motor Co. chairman Carlos Ghosn slip away from Japanese authorities, could use those same cloak-and-dagger skills to flee if released during extradition proceedings, the U.S. said in a court filing.
Federal prosecutors urged a judge to throw out Michael and Peter Maxwell Taylor’s bid to avoid extradition, claiming both are practiced escape artists who must be handed over to Japan.
“The Taylors essentially ask this court to trust them that they would not deploy their tradecraft to escape now that their own liberty is at stake,” the government said. “The strong presumption against bail in international extradition cases does not permit such a leap of faith.”
Michael Taylor, 59, and his son Peter, 27, have been jailed near Boston since they were arrested on May 20 by federal marshals on a provisional warrant from Japan. They are accused of smuggling Ghosn out of Tokyo in a music equipment box delivered to a private jet eventually headed for Lebanon.
Ghosn, who was out on bail, is accused of financial misconduct. An outspoken executive whose late 2018 arrest made headlines around the world, Ghosn has denied the charges and accused the Japanese justice system of being rigged against him. He remains in his native country, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan.
The Taylors’ lawyers argue that bail jumping isn’t a crime in Japan and have asked the judge to toss out the warrant or at least free the Taylors on bail while they battle to show it has no legal basis.
Prosecutors fired back at those arguments on Tuesday.
“The government is unaware of any case where a provisional arrest warrant was quashed based on a fugitive’s opinion of foreign law that is contrary to the interpretation proffered by the foreign government,” they said. “The purported loophole through which the Taylors seek to evade justice simply does not exist.”