Nissan whistleblower testifies at Ghosn aide trial

Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan and Renault chief executive, looks on during a news conference at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, in Jounieh, Lebanon September 29, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Nissan whistleblower testifies at Ghosn aide trial

TOKYO: A whistleblower at Nissan told a Tokyo court on Thursday he had been instructed to find ways of boosting the retirement benefits of the fugitive former chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Nissan executive Hari Nada was testifying for the first time at the trial of Greg Kelly, who was a top aide of Ghosn when they were both arrested in 2018.
Nada was a key player in Ghosn’s sudden arrest, which sent shockwaves through the business world. He obtained whistleblower status from prosecutors for his cooperation.
The Japanese auto giant’s disgraced ex-boss Ghosn is at large after jumping bail and fleeing Japan for Lebanon in 2019 — leaving Kelly as the only person facing trial in the rollercoaster saga.
Kelly, 64, denies charges he conspired to under-report tens of millions of dollars in pay that Ghosn was allegedly promised after his retirement.
Nada told the Tokyo District Court he was instructed by Kelly to find ways to increase Ghosn’s retirement payment.
He said he had found that Ghosn’s retirement scheme did not include stock appreciation rights, or SARs.
“The conclusion is we could include (SARs) into the calculation,” Nada said as he stood to give testimony, dressed in a dark suit.
Asked how much SARs could raise Ghosn’s retirement payment by, he said: “About 2.4 billion yen ($23 million)... something like that.”
As Nada spoke, Kelly sat next to his lawyers, taking notes quietly.
Nada said Ghosn thought he would lose his job if his high salary was disclosed, as the French government would not look favorably upon it, public broadcaster NHK reported.
He also said he was instructed by Kelly to secretly consider a merger between Renault and Nissan, according to NHK.
Kelly’s trial began in September and is expected to last until the summer.
It centers around the question of whether Kelly and Nissan between 2010 and 2018 illegally concealed payments of around 9.2 billion yen ($88 million at today’s rates) promised to Ghosn on retirement.
Former Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa will also testify in the trial next month.


Biden plans immediate orders on immigration, Covid, environment

Updated 4 min 24 sec ago

Biden plans immediate orders on immigration, Covid, environment

WASHINGTON: US President-elect Joe Biden plans to kick off his new administration Wednesday with orders to restore the United States to the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization, aides said.
Biden will sign 17 orders and actions hours after being sworn in as US leader to break from policies of departing President Donald Trump and set new paths on immigration, the environment, fighting Covid-19 and the economy, they said.
In first-day moves, he will end Trump’s much-assailed ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries and halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration.
He will also set a mask mandate on federal properties to stem the spread of Covid-19; restore protections of nature reserves removed by Trump; and seek freezes on evictions and protection for millions behind on their mortgages due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also plans to send a bill to Congress to revamp immigration policies and give millions of undocumented migrants living in the country a path to citizenship that the Trump administration denied.
Biden “will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward,” the aides said in a statement.