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Tokyo court to rule whether deputy helped former Nissan chief Ghosn hide $80 million -Breaking

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© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Greg Kelly arrives at Tokyo District Court, Tokyo, Japan for his first trial hearing on September 15, 2020. Kiyoshi Ota/Pool via REUTERS

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Tim Kelly

TOKYO, Reuters – On Thursday, a Japanese court will deliver its verdict against former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn (OTC) Motor director Greg Kelly, who is charged with helping Ghosn hide income of $80 million from the financial regulators.

After an 18-month trial, Kelly and Ghosn were arrested alongside Kelly. This judgement may be the first Japanese court to rule on Nissan’s exchairman for financial crimes.

Kelly was the main focus of the Tokyo District Court’s case against Ghosn, who fled to Lebanon in 2019. He had hidden in a small box aboard a private aircraft.

Kelly has been subject to months worth of testimony by ex-Nissan employees, including Hiroto Saikawa (former CEO) and Hari Nada (senior legal affairs executive). Prosecutors have submitted stacks and emails claiming that Kelly unlawfully devised methods to delay payments to his boss.

This is due to a 2010 financial regulation amendment that requires executives making more than one billion yen ($8.71million) to reveal their salaries.

Kelly denied that he had broken the law. He testified that he only intended to give Ghosn, who was the chief executive officer at the company, his testimony. Renault (PA:), an indemnity package designed to discourage him from leaving the company for one that is more profitable.

Kelly and Ghosn both claim they were victims of boardroom corruption by ex-colleagues worried Ghosn would merge Nissan with Renault SA, the alliance partner and largest shareholder (OTC).

Ghosn and Kelly were also charged with the Nissan company. Ghosn pleaded guilty to hiding earnings from Japanese authorities. The court has yet to rule. The carmaker is being prosecuted for a fine of 200 million yen (1.74 million).

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Kelly was released on Christmas Day 2018 after spending a month behind bars. He had to stay in Japan according to the $600,000.00 bail conditions. Kelly’s wife Dee was there to support him at all court proceedings.

Ghosn, a former auto executive and now a fugitive international has captured the attention of a nation that was stunned by his remarkable transformation. The case is being closely monitored by Rahm Emanuel (the new U.S. Ambassador to Japan), amid concerns about how the American justice system treats Ghosn.

Japan doesn’t allow suspects to be accompanied by a lawyer during interrogations. Instead, they can be kept in detention for up to 3 weeks with no charges. The majority of criminal cases end up in court with convictions.

Emanuel stated that Kelly was a citizen of America and that he has an obligation to represent the United States at a Tokyo press conference last week.

Former Chicago mayor and chief of staff for President Barack Obama, Kelly said that he called Kelly shortly after arriving in Japan in January.

The prosecution has asked three judges to convict Kelly, and to send him to prison for two years. This would mean that Kelly is now the third American associated to Ghosn.

U.S. Army Special Forces Veteran Michael Taylor was sentenced by a Japanese court to two-years imprisonment, and his son Peter was given one year and eighteen months in prison for their role in helping Taylor escape Japan.

Ghosn, once a globetrotter, is currently stuck in Lebanon and cannot travel abroad without being arrested or returning to Japan.

Ghosn faces charges of concealing $80million of earnings over the past eight years. Ghosn also faces allegations of enriching his employer through $5 million in payments to a Middle East dealership for cars and temporary transfer of investment losses to former employer.

Ghosn denied every accusation against him.

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