It was the arrest heard around the world: when Japanese prosecutors detained then-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn in November 2018, it made global headlines, as did his audacious escape almost a year later.
As his former aide Greg Kelly, arrested that same night in Tokyo, goes on trial, here are some of the key dates in a rollercoaster saga that has gripped the business world:
November 2018: arrests, firings
Japanese prosecutors arrest Ghosn and Kelly after they arrive separately on private planes in Tokyo on November 19.
They are accused of financial misconduct for an alleged scheme to under-report the salary of Ghosn, then-Nissan chief and head of an alliance grouping Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.
The pair deny wrongdoing. Ghosn is swiftly removed from his roles at all three firms.
December 2018: new allegations
On December 10 Japanese prosecutors formally charge Ghosn and Kelly with under-reporting his salary between 2010 and 2015. They are immediately rearrested on allegations of further under-reporting between 2015-2018.
On December 21, Ghosn is arrested on fresh allegations that he transferred losses from personal financial investments to Nissan. His detention is extended.
Kelly wins bail on December 25 on the condition he stays in Japan.
March 2019: Ghosn bail approved
Ghosn attends his first court hearing on January, insisting the accusations against him are “meritless and unsubstantiated”.
His bail request is denied for a first time, and on January 11 two new charges of financial misconduct are filed against him.
On January 31, Ghosn tells AFP from prison that his detention would “not be normal in any other democracy”. He shakes up his legal team on February 13.
On March 5, the court approves Ghosn’s third request for bail which is set at one billion yen ($9 million, eight million euros).
April 2019: Rearrest, bailed again
He is rearrested in a dawn raid of his Tokyo apartment in early April, and on April 22, authorities hit him with a further charge of aggravated breach of trust, alleging he siphoned off money for personal ends from cash transferred from Nissan to a dealership in Oman.
On April 25, the court grants Ghosn a second bail of $4.5 million. He is banned from leaving Japan and requires court permission to see his wife.
September 2019: US charges
On 9 September, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa resigns amid allegations that he also padded his salary, adding 47 million yen by altering the terms of a bonus. He denies wrongdoing but apologises.
Ghosn and Nissan are accused by US securities regulators of hiding more than $140 million in his expected retirement income from investors. Ghosn is fined $1 million, and Nissan says it will pay $15 million.
December 2019: Ghosn jumps bail
Just before New Year’s Eve, Ghosn gives authorities in Japan the slip, hiding in an instrument case to flee on a private plane. He eventually lands in Lebanon, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan.
A week later he gives a press conference claiming Nissan colluded with prosecutors to have him arrested because he wanted to deepen the Japanese firm’s alliance with Renault. He says he fled because he did not believe he would get a fair trial.
May 2020: Ghosn accomplices arrested
Two men accused of helping Ghosn flee Japan are arrested in the United States. Japan seeks to extradite them, and in September a US judge rules extradition proceedings can move forward, though it is not immediately clear if the pair will be brought to Japan and when.
September 2020: Kelly trial
The trial against Kelly began in Tokyo on Tuesday 15 September for a single charge of under-reporting Ghosn’s compensation. He denies wrongdoing and pleads not guilty. Nissan, on trial as a firm on the same charge, pleads guilty to the charges.
— By © Agence France-Presse
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