On a late December day in 2019, word got out that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn had escaped from Japan and arrived in Beirut, Lebanon.
The entire escape played out like something out of a spy movie, with Ghosn getting smuggled out of Japan in a large audio equipment box. Since this box was too big to be x-rayed by customs officials, Ghosn was not discovered and he eventually made his way to Istanbul via plane, before getting rerouted to Beirut.
Fast forward to today, and a Toyko court has just handed down the first sentences related to Ghosn’s arrest and escape from Japan, thus imprisoning the two Americans that helped him out. U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor received a two-year sentence, while his son Peter will be in prison for one year and eight months, reports Reuters.
“This case enabled Ghosn, a defendant of serious crime, to escape overseas,” said Hideo Nirei, the chief judge, while explaining his ruling. “One year and a half has passed, but there is no prospect of the trial being held.”
Taylor and his son pleaded guilty and made a full apology to the court last month, stating that they regretted their role in helping Ghosn flee Japan. The pair received $1.3 million for their services, plus another $500,000 for legal fees, said prosecutors. Ghosn meanwhile faces charges for enriching himself at the expense of his employer through payments to car dealerships in the Middle East.
As of right now, Ghosn is still a fugitive from the law, but he remains in his childhood home of Lebanon, where there isn’t an extradition treaty with Japan. Furthermore, another former Nissan executive, Greg Kelly, is also on trial in Tokyo for allegedly helping Ghosn hide what he was doing with all that money.
Both Ghosn as well as Kelly have denied the charges.