A father and son accused of smuggling ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn out of Japan in a box are fighting their extradition to the country, arguing their act is not a crime there.
Michael and Peter Taylor are wanted in Japan on allegations that they helped Mr Ghosn flee the country in December while he was out on bail and awaiting trial on financial misconduct allegations.
But lawyers for the Taylors said in a legal document filed on Monday that “bail jumping” is not a crime in Japan and, therefore, helping someone evade their bail conditions is not a crime either.
The attorneys accused US authorities of “attempting to transform Japanese law to criminalise the act of helping someone engage in an act that is not itself criminal”.
“Japan has never prosecuted anyone, including Ghosn, for ‘escaping’ bail conditions,” they wrote.
“To the contrary, in the wake of Ghosn’s departure from Japan, numerous news articles have reported on the fact that what Mr Ghosn did was not a crime.”
At the very least, the Taylors should be released from jail while they challenge the extradition because they do not pose a risk of flight or danger to the community, the lawyers told the judge.
Michael Taylor, a 59-year-old former Green Beret and private security specialist, and Peter Taylor, 27, were arrested last month in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts.
Authorities say the Taylors helped sneak Mr Ghosn out of Japan on a private jet with the former Nissan boss hidden in a large box.
The flight went first to Turkey and then Lebanon, where Mr Ghosn has citizenship and which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Mr Ghosn said he fled because he could not expect a fair trial, was subjected to unfair conditions in detention and was barred from meeting his wife under his bail conditions.
Mr Ghosn has said he is innocent of allegations he under-reported his future income and committed a breach of trust by diverting Nissan money for his personal gain.
He says the compensation was never decided on or received, and that the Nissan payments were for legitimate business purposes.