Arab Times

Ja­pan be­gins trial of Nis­san, ex-ex­ec­u­tive over Ghosn’s pay

- Business · Crime · White-collar Crime · Automotive Industry · Industries · Japan · Nissan Motor Company · Carlos Ghosn · Tokyo · Lebanon · Renault Co · United States of America · Yoichi

TOKYO, Sept 17, (AP): The fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct trial of for­mer Nis­san ex­ec­u­tive Greg Kelly be­gan Tues­day with Kelly say­ing he com­mit­ted no crimes and was only try­ing to keep his star boss Car­los Ghosn from leav­ing.

The charges be­ing heard at Tokyo Dis­trict Court cen­ter around Kelly’s al­leged role in fail­ing to re­port to Ja­panese au­thor­i­ties the fu­ture com­pen­sa­tion of Ghosn, who led Nis­san Mo­tor Co. for two decades.

Ja­panese pros­e­cu­tors out­lined al­le­ga­tions of what they said was a com­plex and clan­des­tine scheme to pay Ghosn more than the amount the com­pany had re­ported as com­pen­sa­tion. Kelly de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and said ev­ery­thing that was done was in­tended to keep Ghosn, whom he called an “ex­tra­or­di­nary ex­ec­u­tive,” at Nis­san.

“This was all in the best in­ter­ests of Nis­san,” Kelly said, read­ing from a state­ment. “I deny the al­le­ga­tions. I was not in­volved in a crim­i­nal con­spir­acy,” said Kelly, whose trial opened on his 64th birthday.

Ghosn was ar­rested in late 2018 at the same time as Kelly but jumped bail and fled to Le­banon late last year. Since Le­banon has no ex­tra­di­tion treaty with Ja­pan, he may never face trial. But Kelly evinced no ran­cor over be­ing left to face trial him­self.

He re­counted how in the late 1990s, when Nis­san was los­ing money, the

French au­tomaker Re­nault bought a stake in Nis­san and sent in Ghosn to help turn the ail­ing Ja­panese car maker around.

The ex­perts be­lieved Nis­san was doomed, Kelly said, but “Mr. Ghosn proved the ex­perts wrong. Un­der Mr. Ghosn, Nis­san be­came very prof­itable.”

Top man­age­ment at Nis­san fret­ted

they might lose Ghosn, who oc­ca­sion­ally com­plained he could make more money else­where even though he was paid more than most Ja­panese top ex­ec­u­tives. They re­searched law­ful meth­ods to pro­vide in­cen­tives for him to say, con­sult­ing with in-house and out­side at­tor­neys to try to re­tain him.

“The ev­i­dence will show that I did not break the law,” said Kelly, who has a law de­gree and was hired by Nis­san in the U.S. in 1988. Kelly’s head de­fense lawyer Yoichi Ki­ta­mura said lit­tle apart from: “My client is not guilty.”

Later on in the ses­sion, an­other at­tor­ney gave more de­tails about the de­fense’s po­si­tion, stress­ing that some of the al­leged schemes to pay Ghosn were con­sid­ered and not fi­nal­ized, or never signed by Ghosn. Kelly was not in­volved in a cou­ple of the schemes, he ar­gued.

Kelly’s wife, Dee, who at­tended the ses­sion, de­fended her hus­band out­side the court­house. She said her hus­band had been go­ing over the ev­i­dence for the trial to pre­pare for the case.

“Greg has done noth­ing wrong,” Dee Kelly said. “I’m very proud of him. He’s an honor­able man.”

Nis­san is also fac­ing the same charges in the trial as Kelly but has ac­knowl­edged guilt and is not con­test­ing the charges. It is pay­ing a 2.4 bil­lion yen ($22.6 mil­lion) fine.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Nis­san told the court the pay schemes did not ben­e­fit Nis­san and were aimed at Ghosn’s per­sonal gain, but in­stead dam­aged in­vestor trust and tar­nished the com­pany’s brand.

The pros­e­cu­tors said that in 2010 Ghosn re­turned to Nis­san 700 mil­lion yen (about$6.6 mil­lion) that ex­ceeded the amount Nis­san would dis­close as his com­pen­sa­tion.

 ??  ?? For­mer Nis­san Mo­tor Co ex­ec­u­tive Greg Kelly (left), ar­rives for the first trial hear­ing at the Tokyo Dis­trict Court in Tokyo Tues­day, Sept 15. The fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct trial of Kelly opened Tues­day. Ja­panese pros­e­cu­tors out­lined al­le­ga­tions of what they said was a com­plex and clan­des­tine scheme
to pay for­mer star ex­ec­u­tive Car­los Ghosn. (AP)
For­mer Nis­san Mo­tor Co ex­ec­u­tive Greg Kelly (left), ar­rives for the first trial hear­ing at the Tokyo Dis­trict Court in Tokyo Tues­day, Sept 15. The fi­nan­cial mis­con­duct trial of Kelly opened Tues­day. Ja­panese pros­e­cu­tors out­lined al­le­ga­tions of what they said was a com­plex and clan­des­tine scheme to pay for­mer star ex­ec­u­tive Car­los Ghosn. (AP)

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