US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
rejected an emergency appeal and cleared the way for the extradition to Japan
of two US citizens accused of helping former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn
flee the Asian nation.
The Supreme Court order, which followed similar rulings by
lower courts, was issued without comment. The appeal went to Justice Breyer as
the judge is overseeing the northeast region where the accused duo, Michael
Taylor and son Peter Taylor, live.
The Taylors were arrested in May 2020 after
Japan issued a warrant accusing them of helping Ghosn flee Tokyo for Lebanon on
December 29, 2019 — reportedly in a large box in a private jet — as he faced
financial charges in Japan.
Japan has also named a Lebanese national,
George-Antoine Zayek, as an accomplice in the daring escape by onetime
automobile titan Ghosn, who holds Brazilian, French and Lebanese citizenship.
Breyer’s decision effectively reaffirmed a
ruling given on Thursday by a three-judge panel of the First US Circuit Court
of Appeals in Boston.
A US federal judge had given the original
go-ahead to extradite the duo to Japan in late January.
The courts have uniformly rejected the
contention by the Taylors’ lawyers that the two men would face torture-like
conditions in Japanese prison sufficient to merit breaching the extradition
treaty between Tokyo and Washington.
Federal Judge Indira Talwani pointed out,
moreover, that their alleged actions would be considered a crime in the United
States, as well as in Japan.
Peter Taylor was apprehended in Boston as he
was trying to leave the country for Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty
He and his father, a former US Special Forces
member turned private security contractor, have been imprisoned pending the
outcome of the extradition fight.
US court documents show the three men
allegedly tried to help smuggle Ghosn out of the country inside a large musical
Prosecutors in one court filing called it
“one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent
Ghosn, who was a global business superstar
when his career came crashing to an end, fled Japan in December 2019 while out
on bail facing financial misconduct charges.
He was arrested in November 2018 and had been
expected to face trial in April 2020 on charges including understating his pay
and misusing company assets.
He spent 130 days in prison before being
released on bail and completing his audacious escape act.