A Tokyo court on Thursday found Greg Kelly, a former Nissan Motor Co. director, guilty of helping ex-CEO Carlos Ghosn underreport compensation in 2017.
The judge sentenced the American former executive to six months in jail, suspended for three years. This means that Kelly is now able to immediately return to the United States.
In a ruling read out in court, the judge told Kelly that he had assisted Ghosn in hiding around 9.3 billion yen ($80.46 million) in payments that were not disclosed in financial reports over the span of a decade.
The judge found that Kelly was not aware of all 9.3 billion yen ($80.46 million) of concealed payments over the period, blaming Toshiaki Ohnuma, an official who oversaw details of Ghosn’s compensation, for some of the misreporting. Ohnuma, who was a key witness for the prosecution, was not put on trial in return for his cooperation.
It's worth noting that Kelly, who was formerly responsible for human resources and legal affairs at Nissan, was left alone to defend himself after Ghosn fled in 2019 to Lebanon hidden in a box on a private jet.
Kelly, in a statement, said he was "shocked" by the ruling. "I acted in Nissan’s best interests and didn’t participate in any illegal activities," he said. "I am innocent on all counts."
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