Ghosn withheld part of Nissan’s salary fearing he would be forced to leave Renault, Tokyo court said

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In this news, we discuss the Ghosn withheld part of Nissan’s salary fearing he would be forced to leave Renault, Tokyo court said

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Carlos Ghosn withheld part of his pay at Nissan because he feared the French government would force him to quit Renault if he found out how much he was making, an executive at the Japanese automaker told a Tokyo court.

Hari Nada, former Nissan vice president for legal affairs, is one of the main whistleblowers in the case brought by Japanese prosecutors against former Nissan and Renault boss Ghosn, arrested in 2018 .

Nada testified at the trial of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly, who is accused of helping Ghosn hide 9.3 billion yen ($ 89 million) in compensation over eight years through deferred payments after that Japan introduced new rules requiring officials to disclose payments over 1 billion yen.

Kelly has pleaded not guilty. He has been on bail in Japan since his release from prison in 2018 and risks being tried without Ghosn because his co-defendants fled to Lebanon in December 2019.

Ghosn, who was one of the world’s automotive leaders leading the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, has denied any wrongdoing. He says he was the victim of a coup in the boardroom by former Nissan colleagues, fearing to push for a merger between Nissan and Renault, its main shareholder.

Nada told the court that Ghosn had concealed his true compensation because he feared repercussions in France. He said Kelly gave him this information.

“He didn’t want to be fired. If he paid himself what he wanted and it was disclosed, the French state would have felt compelled to fire him, ”said Nada, who agreed to cooperate with Japanese prosecutors in exchange for immunity from prosecution. .

The French Ministry of the Economy declined to comment.

Nada was demoted after Ghosn’s arrest.

Ghosn, who is also accused of getting rich from payments of $ 5 million to a Middle Eastern car dealership, and for breach of trust for temporarily transferring personal financial losses to his employer’s books, denies also any wrongdoing.

Kelly’s trial could last about a year. If found guilty, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 10 million yen.

Reporting by Tim Kelly; Additional reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by Pravin Char

Original © Thomson Reuters

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