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US judge denies extradition appeal of alleged Ghosn accomplices

A US court on Thursday denied a final appeal to delay the extradition to Japan of two Americans accused of having helped former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn flee the Asian nation.

Former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan in December 2019
Former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan in December 2019

Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor were arrested in May 2020 after Japan issued a warrant.

Court documents said that the two men had filed an “emergency motion to stay their surrender and extradition to Japan.”

They had filed the petition so they would have time to mount a new legal challenge against a previous court ruling greenlighting their extradition.

A panel of three judges at the First US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled Thursday that the Taylors “have failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success” in their challenge and, “more generally, have failed to demonstrate that a stay is in order.”

A US federal judge in late January had given the go-ahead to extradite the father and son to Japan, saying they could not satisfactorily back up their claim that they would be subjected to conditions approaching torture in Japanese prison to merit breaching the extradition treaty between Tokyo and Washington.

Judge Indira Talwani also pointed out their alleged actions would be considered a crime in the United States, as well as in Japan.

Tokyo has accused the Taylors, along with Lebanese George-Antoine Zayek, of helping Ghosn escape justice by fleeing the country on December 29, 2019.

Peter Taylor was apprehended in Boston as he was trying to leave the country for Lebanon, where Ghosn had taken refuge and where there is no extradition treaty with Japan.

He and his father Michael, a former US special forces member turned private security contractor, have been imprisoned while awaiting the extradition hearing due to being considered flight risks.

US court documents show the three men allegedly tried to help smuggle Ghosn out of the country inside a large musical equipment case. AFP.