Carlos Ghosn’s former deputy at Nissan is to finally stand trial charged with assisting the ex-chairman of the manufacturer with hiding the full extent of his salary via a deferred payment system.
Greg Kelly will go before a court in Tokyo tomorrow (Sep 15) on his 64th birthday – and nearly two years after he and ex-Nissan boss Ghosn were arrested.
The glaring absence as a witness in all this is Ghosn himself, who fled from Japan last December in an audacious escape – it’s believed he was smuggled out of the country in a packing case, ending up in Lebanon via Turkey.
In a Financial Times report, Japan state broadcaster NHK quoted Kelly – who has been in Japan either on bail or in custody the whole time – as saying: ‘Can you imagine being forced to be away from your family for two years?’ He also showed a picture on his mobile phone, adding: ‘So these two grandsons, one is nine months old. I’ve never met him.’
US lawyer Kelly was initially released from custody and had planned to go home to Tennessee for surgery for a spine condition, but instead he was rearrested at Tokyo airport.
His lawyer, Yoichi Kitamura, has said Kelly will plead not guilty and will reassert his earlier claims that everything had been above board, following consultation with experts. If, however, he is found guilty, Kelly could spend up to 10 years in jail.
Ghosn – who was also Renault’s chairman and chief executive as well as Mitsubishi’s chairman, heading the alliance that the two manufacturers had with Nissan – denies charges of financial misconduct. He says he has been the victim of a conspiracy involving the Japanese government, Nissan and prosecutors after he tried to merge the carmaker completely with Renault, and has claimed his trial wouldn’t deliver justice.
Kelly’s trial is expected to last months.
Our file image shows Greg Kelly leaving the Tokyo detention centre in December 2018