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Tokyo court sentences US duo to prison for helping Ghosn flee Japan

Michael Taylor and his son Peter pleaded guilty last month

Carlos Ghosn remains a fugitive in his childhood home of Lebanon, which doesn't have an extradition treaty with Japan.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) -- A Tokyo court on Monday doled out the first sentences related to Carlos Ghosn's arrest and escape from Japan, imprisoning U.S. Army Special Forces veteran Michael Taylor for two years and his son Peter for one year and eight months for helping the former Nissan Motor chairman flee to Lebanon.

"This case enabled Ghosn, a defendant of serious crime, to escape overseas," Hideo Nirei, the chief judge, said while explaining the judgement. "One year and a half has passed, but there is no prospect of the trial being held."

The two men, who had faced up to three years in prison, pleaded guilty and made a tearful apology to the court last month, saying they regretted their role in smuggling Ghosn out of Japan hidden in a box aboard a private jet from Japan's Kansai airport at the end of 2019.

Prosecutors said the Taylors received $1.3 million for their services and another $500,000 for legal fees.

Ghosn remains a fugitive in his childhood home of Lebanon, which doesn't have an extradition treaty with Japan.

In Japan he faces charges he understated his compensation in Nissan's financial statements by 9.3 billion yen ($85 million) over a decade and enriched himself at his employer's expense through payments to car dealerships in the Middle East.

Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive charged with helping Ghosn hide his compensation, is also on trial in Tokyo. Both Ghosn and Kelly deny the charges.

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