Japan prosecutors appeal in ex-Nissan executive Kelly trial

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Pool The Tennessean

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., left, walks with Greg Kelly, right, a former Nissan executive, and his wife, Dee Kelly, lower right, at Nashville International Airport in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, March 14, 2022. Kelly returned to Nashville after a Tokyo court gave Kelly, who was charged with underreporting his boss Carlos Ghosn's pay, a suspended sentence. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)

TOKYO – Japanese prosecutors filed an appeal Wednesday against the verdict in the trial of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly, who recently was cleared of almost all charges he had faced related to alleged under-reporting of his former boss Carlos Ghosn’s pay.

The Tokyo District Court handed down a six-month sentence suspended for three years earlier this month. It found Kelly, an American, guilty of under-reporting former Nissan Chairman Ghosn’s compensation for just one of the eight years cited in the charges.

The defense has already appealed and is pushing for Kelly’s total innocence.

Tokyo prosecutors have said they had been studying whether they had grounds for an appeal for the years Kelly had been cleared of any offenses. They had demanded Kelly be sentenced to two years in prison.

The case now goes to the Tokyo High Court, which will examine all eight years in the allegations, since both sides are appealing.

People who are given suspended sentences are not required to be in Japan. Kelly was welcomed back to Tennessee earlier this week by Sen. Bill Hagerty, who supported his case from the start.

“It took over three years to get him home, but today I’m delighted to be here to welcome Greg back,” he said.

Kelly worked for Nissan for three decades and was in semi-retirement in the U.S. when he was summoned to a meeting in Japan in November 2018. He was arrested then at the same time as Ghosn, the former head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

Kelly’s trial began in September 2020. Ghosn has not been tried because he jumped bail in late 2019 and fled the country for Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Yokohama-based Nissan Motor Co., which makes the March subcompact, Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models, pleaded guilty in the same trial, has been fined and will not be part of the appeal.


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama