Ex-Nissan executive found guilty of underreporting Ghosn’s pay

Former Nissan Motor Co. executive Greg Kelly and the automaker itself were found guilty on Thursday on charges connected to the underreporting of ousted CEO Carlos Ghosn’s pay.

The former Nissan representative director was sentenced by the Tokyo District Court to six months in prison, suspended for three years, reports Xinhua news agency.

The court ordered Nissan, Japan’s third-largest automaker, to pay 200 million yen ($1 million) in fines, in line with prosecutors’ demands.

Kelly, a US citizen and former close aide of Ghosn, however, had a number of other charges by prosecutors facing him dropped.

He was accused of colluding with Ghosn in understating Ghosn’s remuneration by around 9 billion yen over eight years through March 2018.

Nissan was also found guilty of violating Japan’s financial instruments and exchange law.

Prosecutors, since the trial kicked-off in September 2020, have argued that Kelly’s role was a decisive one in plotting the scam to enable Ghosn to be compensated with deferred payments,

These deferred payments were in addition to his regular pay and were aimed at making Ghosn’s earnings look lower than was in fact the case.

Kelly, maintaining that there was no agreement between Ghosn and himself for the alleged deferred payments, said he wanted to retain Ghosn so the once-feted auto bigwig could continue providing services for Nissan.

These deferred payments were in addition to his regular pay and were aimed at making Ghosn’s earnings look lower than was in fact the case.

In June 2021, two US citizens charged with helping Ghosn flee Japan in 2019 while on bail awaiting his trial pleaded guilty in court.

Michael Taylor, a former Green Beret, and his son Peter, had already admitted to helping Ghosn flee Japan so the former auto tycoon could avoid trial for charges of financial misconduct.

The Taylors were charged with providing Ghosn illegal passage to Lebanon, one of three countries he is a national of, by smuggling him out of his residence in Tokyo and to Kansai International Airport via two hotels in late December 2019.

The father and son team, in full knowledge that Ghosn was prohibited from leaving the country as part of his bail terms, hid Ghosn in a large box, which cleared Kansai airport security, and the illicit cargo was flown to Turkey on a private jet.

At the request of Japanese prosecutors, the Taylors were arrested in Massachusetts in 2020 by US authorities.

They had fought extradition to Japan in US courts but ultimately lost their battle when their appeal was rejected by the US Supreme Court.

Michael Taylor ended up receiving a two-year sentence, and Peter Taylor received a sentence of one year and eight months at the conclusion of their trial.

Japan has since been trying to detain Ghosn with the help of Interpol as Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.

This means that Ghosn cannot be legally handed over to Japan without Lebanon first agreeing to it.

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