Former Nissan Co. director Greg Kelly pleaded not guilty Tuesday to conspiring to understate the remuneration of his former boss Carlos Ghosn by billions of yen, during the first hearing of his trial at the Tokyo District Court — nearly two years after his arrest.

Kelly, a U.S. citizen, has been indicted for conspiring to hide ¥9.1 billion worth of payments in compensation and retirement benefits over eight years through March 2018. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

“I was not involved in a criminal conspiracy,” Kelly told the court in English.