Carlos Ghosn's decision to flee to Lebanon last week effectively ended his legal prosecution in Japan, leaving former Nissan Motor Co. executive Greg Kelly at the center of the sprawling case.

Under Japanese criminal law, only minor accusations can be tried without a defendant, according to Nobuo Gohara, a former prosecutor. That's not Ghosn. If found guilty of the allegations of financial misconduct, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Nissan and Renault SA could have been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

Tokyo University law professor Wataru Tanaka had been asked by Ghosn's lawyers to provide expert testimony for the case. Now, Tanaka said, the lawyers don't expect Ghosn's trial to continue.