Ghosn said Nissan pay plan was not set: Japan prosecutors

TOKYO (AP) – Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn told prosecutors during questioning on financial misconduct charges before he fled Japan that his compensation was never decided upon, according to records presented in Tokyo District Court yesterday.

Ghosn said the plans were just a “reference,” said a defence attorney for Greg Kelly, a former Nissan executive on trial in connection with alleged underreporting of Ghosn’s pay by about a billion yen (USD10 million) per year.

Daisuke Fujiwara, a lawyer for Kelly, read more than 200 pages documenting Ghosn’s interrogations in a Tokyo jail in November and December 2018.

Kelly, who is an American and a lawyer, said he is innocent and he was only trying to find legal ways to compensate Ghosn.

The defence is trying to show a panel of three judges that Kelly had little to do with the complex attempts by Ghosn to calculate his future pay.

Nissan’s former executive Carlos Ghosn. PHOTO: AP

Ghosn, who led Nissan for about two decades, fled to Lebanon while out on bail in late 2019. He is unlikely to stand trial since Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan.

The prosecutors’ records show Ghosn denied the payments were “delayed,” asserting they were all “conditional.”

In one segment, Ghosn highlighted that by pointing out that if a plane he was on were to crash, his wife wouldn’t get any of of the money.

Kelly’s name appeared in only one part of Ghosn’s statements, in a proposal for post-retirement consultancy fees and a non-compete deal that would be paid in return for Ghosn agreeing to not work for a rival.

Both would have been paid for services after retirement and did not have to be disclosed in Nissan Motor Co’s annual securities reports, which are the focus of the trial.