Guilty verdict for former Nissan executive Greg Kelly, accused of helping his boss – former automaker president Carlos Ghosn – underestimate his earnings by several million euros. The Tokyo District Court sentenced the 65-year-old US citizen to six months in prison with suspended sentence. The prosecution had asked for two years.
The sentence comes at the end of a trial that lasted 18 months, and just over three years after Kelly’s arrest, along with that of Ghosn himself, who in the meantime fled to Lebanon. The court also sentenced Nissan – already pleaded guilty – to a fine of 200 million yen (1.55 million euros), the same amount requested by the prosecutor. Kelly allegedly helped the former tycoon underestimate his income by at least 9 billion yen (€ 70 million), over an 8-year period, through March 2018, as well as allowing the former manager to use company funds for personal purposes. The defense has always maintained that Kelly acted legally to ensure adequate compensation for a manager of Ghosn’s caliber.
From Beirut, where he resides, the 67-year-old at the helm of the Japanese car manufacturer for almost 20 years, denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a conspiracy within the company, accusing Japanese justice of not being able to guarantee him a fair trial and right. In Japan, pre-trial detention can last up to three weeks and suspects cannot be assisted by a lawyer during interrogation: 99% of criminal trials end in conviction. The two US citizens, father and son, former servicemen, who helped Ghosn escape in December 2019 – hiding him in the case of a musical instrument – were found guilty last July and are serving a two-year sentence in prison.