Greg Kelly, the former administrator of Nissan, is on trial from Tuesday, September 15 in Tokyo.

The trial opens nearly two years after prosecutors charged him with conspiring to hide part of the income of his former boss, Carlos Ghosn, ousted president of the Japanese manufacturer who fled to Lebanon last year.

Greg Kelly arrived at court around 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. KST), wearing a mask and charcoal gray suit.

Accompanied by three of his lawyers, he did not say a word to the press before entering the building.

Released on bail in 2018, Greg Kelly denies any wrongdoing.

"I am not guilty of having violated any law in Japan," said the American lawyer in an interview broadcast Monday by the Japanese channel TBS.

"I would have liked to have had him here to testify," Greg Kelly said of Carlos Ghosn.

"It's a bit difficult for everything to be said when the main witness is not there," he added.

The hope of an acquittal

Greg Kelly is accused of helping Carlos Ghosn conceal more than 9 billion yen (around 72 million euros) of his income over an eight-year period.

He faces a 10-year prison sentence and a fine of 10 million yen (approximately 79,000 euros).

But his lawyers told AFP they are hopeful that he will be acquitted, despite the extremely high conviction rate (over 99%) in criminal cases in Japan.

Nissan, which appears as a legal person, will however plead guilty, according to several sources interviewed by AFP.

But the group is keeping a low profile in this lawsuit, fearing negative "media unrest" for its image.

The trial, for which Nissan is also among the accused, could last nearly a year.

Several executives of the Japanese manufacturer are called to appear, including former general manager Hiroto Saikawa.

With Reuters and AFP

The summary of the week

France 24 invites you to come back to the news that marked the week

I subscribe

Take international news everywhere with you!

Download the France 24 application