“We would have liked to arrange for Mr. Ghosn’s eventual retirement to maintain him motivated and to have him proceed to work for Nissan,” he stated in reply to a prosecutor’s questioning.
Saikawa labored intently with Ghosn and succeeded Ghosn as CEO in 2017. After Ghosn was arrested in November 2018, he denounced Ghosn.
Saikawa resigned in September 2019 after questions over his personal compensation surfaced. He denied wrongdoing and was not charged.
He struck a sympathetic tone Tuesday, telling the court docket he signed a number of draft paperwork on remuneration packages for Ghosn, together with retirement pay, advisor charges and a non-compete settlement to forestall him from transferring to a competitor.
Saikawa stated he signed the primary such doc in entrance of Ghosn, and others with Kelly, who was overseeing the compensation efforts.
Kelly is asserting his innocence within the trial that started final yr. Kelly, an American, has been charged with monetary misconduct in failing to totally disclose Ghosn’s future compensation. Apart from Ghosn and Kelly, nobody else at Nissan has been charged.
Ghosn led Nissan for twenty years, salvaging the Japanese automaker from the brink of collapse. He’s accused of under-reporting his earnings by about 1 billion yen ($10 million) a yr over a number of years and of breach of belief.
When requested why he signed the paperwork, Saikawa stated he trusted Kelly.
“He’s an professional and knowledgeable, and he was arising with the proposals with an understanding of the general course of. If he was saying it, there may very well be no mistake,” Saikawa instructed the court docket.
Witnesses and prosecutors have stated Ghosn took a pay minimize to about half of what he’d been getting after the regulation began requiring such disclosures to securities authorities in 2010.
Ghosn additionally says he’s harmless. He fled whereas out on bail in late 2019, and is now in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan.
Individually, Japan is in search of the extradition of Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor, accused of smuggling Ghosn out of Japan. They’re now being held in a suburban Boston jail. Earlier this month, a U.S. decide cleared the best way for the 2 to be handed over to Japan.
Kelly’s trial, earlier than a panel of three judges, is anticipated to final for a number of extra months. Greater than 99% of Japanese felony trials lead to convictions.
Nissan, who has been charged as firm, has acknowledged guilt. Nevertheless it additionally continues to be standing trial, as is customary in Japan.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
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