In any event, the Tokyo District Court’s judgement against Kelly and Nissan last week in the matter of Ghosn’s alleged deferred compensation will likely make a civil victory in Japan harder, said Nobuo Gohara, a lawyer representing Ghosn’s civil actions in Japan.
“The criminal court has already concluded that Mr. Ghosn violated the financial instruments and exchange act, so chances are slim that a civil court will overrule that decision,” he said.
Ghosn ducked official judgement in last week’s ruling by the Tokyo District Court, because he fled Japan for Lebanon at the end of 2019 saying he couldn't get a fair trial.
The court convicted Kelly of helping Ghosn hide deferred compensation during only one of the eight fiscal years under scrutiny. The court actually cleared the American as not guilty on all counts in the remaining seven years, deciding there was no evidence linking him to the alleged misconduct. But the court maintained Ghosn had consistently broken the law in that period.
Ghosn, who maintains his innocence, dismissed the verdict as a face-saving gesture for the country’s prosecutors and their vaunted 99 percent conviction rate. And also he said the ruling hinged on cherry picking plea bargainer testimony that suited the end goal of conviction.
In other topics, the ousted Alliance chairman said life in Lebanon is going “reasonably well,” despite the financial and economic crisis gripping the country. He said he also continues to be approached for business advice by startups and consultation on new technology trends.
And although Ghosn is grounded in Lebanon by an Interpol red notice requesting his arrest, he has been able to host visits from family members living abroad. He himself won’t risk travel.
“Obviously, I would be having many more people working with me if I was able to move outside of Lebanon, but I'm restricted because of the Interpol red notice,” he said.
“If you go out from Lebanon, you do so at your own risk,” Ghosn said. “Any problem, where you have to land in a third country, you can be shipped back to Japan. And you know exactly what is expecting me there. If I go to Japan, it’s like a death penalty.”
Naoto Okamura in Tokyo contributed to this report.