Japanese Prosecutors Seek Two Years in Prison for Former Ghosn Aide Greg Kelly

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The trial of the former Nissan executive is set to end nearly three years after his arrest

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Mr Kelly, 65, was charged with violating a rule governing the public disclosure of executive pay. Although in theory he could face up to 15 years in prison under the law, prosecutors said two years would be an appropriate sentence.

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The regulation, which took effect in 2010, required companies to disclose the salary of any executive in the year the salary was set. Prosecutors have alleged that Mr Ghosn, the chief executive and later chairman of Nissan, helped Kelly arrange for the deferment of nearly half of his compensation each year until after his retirement.

During the trial that began in September 2020, prosecutors produced documents and testimony from a Nissan employee named Toshiaki Ohnuma. Every year, Mr Ohnuma creates a document dividing Mr Ghosn’s salary into two categories: paid and deferred remuneration. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Kelly knew about deferred remuneration and should have made sure Nissan included it in the company’s annual securities filings.

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Mr Kelly has said he has never seen a calculation about deferred remuneration until June 2018. He said he was working on possible ways to pay Mr Ghosn after retirement to prevent the executive from going to work elsewhere, but said nothing was fixed and nothing was. need to be publicly reported.

Both sides at the trial agree that Mr Ghosn cut his compensation by nearly half when the disclosure regulation took effect because he feared backlash from the public and the French government, which is the largest shareholder in Nissan’s coalition partner, Renault. Is. To

. The Parties also agree that Mr. Ghosn never received the money described in the documents as deferred remuneration.

M/s Ghosn and Kelly were arrested in Japan in November 2018 and charged together. Mr Ghosn fled to Lebanon in December 2019 before the trial began. He says that he is innocent and runs away as he did not get a fair trial. Nissan was also charged as a company and is not disputing the allegations. Prosecutors recommended that Nissan pay a fine equivalent to about $1.8 million.

Mr Kelly’s US-based attorney, Jamie Wareham of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, called the Japanese case a sham and said the allegations stemmed from the desire of Nissan officials and government officials to prevent a merger between Nissan. were inspired. and Renault.

Sean McLain at [email protected]

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