Former Nissan Motor Co. director Greg Kelly left Japan on Monday, days after receiving a suspended sentence for helping Carlos Ghosn underreport compensation, and more than three years since being arrested in one of the most dramatic corporate takedowns of the past decade.
Kelly, 65, and his wife, Dee, flew to the U.S. from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, where they were seen off by Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Last Thursday, Kelly was found guilty by a panel of three judges at the Tokyo District Court of aiding Ghosn in 2017, but was cleared of charges of involvement for prior years.
The 17 months of proceedings essentially served as a proxy trial against Ghosn, the former chairman of Nissan and its car-making alliance partner, Renault SA. The two auto executives were arrested in Tokyo on the same day in November 2018 and charged with various financial misconduct offenses.
Kelly’s lawyers are appealing the ruling, even though the verdict is a rare partial victory in a country where prosecutors win virtually all court cases.
Kelly was left alone to defend himself after Ghosn staged a spectacular escape from Japan at the end of 2019, making his way by private jet to Lebanon, where he now resides. Kelly, who formerly oversaw human resources and legal affairs at Nissan, argued that there wasn’t an agreement to pay Ghosn, as well as no requirement to disclose any such compensation and that his former boss was never paid.