Japan has asked the United States to extradite a former Green Beret and his son accused of helping former Nissan Motor Co. boss Carlos Ghosn escape from Japan last year while awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges, prosecutors said Friday.
Given the request filed for Michael Taylor, a 59-year-old former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, and his 27-year-old son Peter Taylor is based on a bilateral extradition treaty, it is now up to U.S. authorities to decide on whether to hand over the men.
"We express our appreciation to U.S. authorities for their cooperation. We will cooperate as much as possible toward their swift extradition," Takahiro Saito, deputy chief of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, said at a press conference.
If they are handed over, Tokyo prosecutors will arrest them based on warrants and "conduct the necessary investigation," Saito said.
He said whether the extradition will take place is "at the discretion of the United States" and that he is "in no position to comment" on the timing of their decision over the matter.
The two were arrested in Massachusetts in May for their alleged involvement in the dramatic escape of the fallen auto industry giant in late December. Ghosn fled to Lebanon, where he spent his childhood, via Turkey.
Japan's Justice Minister Masako Mori told reporters her ministry will also work together with the U.S. side for the swift extradition of the Taylors.
The U.S. authorities confirmed Tokyo's request in documents submitted to a federal court in Massachusetts.
While the Taylors' lawyers have sought their release on bail, U.S. prosecutors say they are a flight risk. The court is currently examining whether to keep them detained.
Ghosn, who headed Nissan for nearly two decades, faced trial in Japan on allegations he misused company funds and understated his remuneration by billions of yen for years.
The 66-year-old has denied the allegations and said he fled Japan to escape what he described as a "rigged" justice system.
The Japanese government has been requesting Ghosn's extradition through Interpol, but the Lebanese government has indicated it is unlikely to hand him over. Japan does not have an extradition treaty with the Middle Eastern country.