Nissan whistleblower testifies at Ghosn aide trial

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

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.

Afghan VP pushes for execution of Taliban prisoners

Afghan VP pushes for execution of Taliban prisoners
Updated 19 January 2021

Afghan VP pushes for execution of Taliban prisoners

Afghan VP pushes for execution of Taliban prisoners
  • Taliban spokesman says first vice president wants to sabotage the peace talks

KABUL: Afghanistan’s First Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Monday demanded the execution of Taliban prisoners as violence surges in the country in spite of US-sponsored talks between the government and the militants.

Under mounting US pressure and following months of delay, Kabul released last summer thousands of Taliban prisoners from its custody as part of the landmark accord between the group and Washington.

But now there has been a spike in arrests of suspected Taliban fighters linked with recent attacks.

“These arrests should be executed so that it becomes a lesson for others,” Saleh told a routine security meeting in Kabul.

“The arrested like nightingales admit (to conducting attacks), but their all hope is that they will be freed one day without real punishment … any terrorist detainee should be executed.”

Known as the staunchest anti-Taliban leader in government and consistently opposed to talks with the Taliban, Saleh said he would raise his demand for the executions in the High Council of the Judiciary. His spokesman, Rezwan Murad, said the first vice president has also shared his demand with President Ashraf Ghani.

“Currently, around 1,000 Taliban prisoners have been sentenced to capital punishment,” Prison Administration spokesman in Kabul, Farhad Bayani, told Arab News.

“Such news is provoking, he wants to sabotage the process of talks,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, when reached by Arab News for reaction to Saleh’s push.

“We will severely take the revenge of any type of inhuman and cruel treatment of our prisoners.”

The Afghan government was excluded from the US and Taliban deal signed last February in Doha, which as per the agreement is also hosting the current peace talks between Kabul and the insurgents.

In spite of the ongoing talks, violence has surged in Afghanistan and both the government and the Taliban accuse each other for its escalation.

Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in the violence, which has displaced tens of thousands of people since the February deal, while Kabul has endured a resurgence in assassination attacks and magnet bombs.

Prior to Saleh, some residents and lawmakers also demanded the executions of Taliban members suspected of being behind major attacks. Heather Barr, interim co-director for Human Rights Watch, told Arab News: “Human Rights Watch opposes the use of the death penalty under all circumstances. It is a uniquely cruel and irreversible punishment and we are glad to see that there has been some global progress towards abolition of the death penalty.”

She added: “Afghanistan has already seen so much violence and death and continues to experience this violence every day. There is an urgent need for accountability for the many human rights violations that have been inflicted during Afghanistan’s many years of war, but executions will not bring the justice Afghans so badly need.”