Nissan executive Greg Kelly released from detention in Japan

Nissan executive Greg Kelly was released from detention in Japan after being granted bail over the alleged under-reporting of his boss Carlos Ghosn’s pay.

The late-night release of Kelly, who is American, followed the Tokyo District Court’s approval earlier in the day of a bail request filed last week by his Japanese lawyer.

Kelly was freed on 70 million yen (635,600 dollars) bail, ending his detention after more than a month.

Television footage captured the bespectacled Kelly, wearing a beige jacket, slowly walking out of the detention centre and getting into a black car.

Japan Nissan Kelly
Nissan Motor Co.’s executive Greg Kelly, centre, comes out of Tokyo’s Detention Centre (AP)

The vehicle drove past reporters waiting outside of the gate as cameras flashed.

Kelly was expected to go straight to a hospital for treatment of his chronic neck problem, according to local media.

Kelly and Ghosn were detained in Tokyo immediately after their November 19 arrest.

They are charged with under-reporting Ghosn’s pay by about five billion yen (44 million dollars) in 2011-2015.

Kelly’s Japanese lawyer sought bail after the court dismissed prosecutors’ request for more detention for the two to investigate their second allegation of under-reporting Ghosn’s four billion yen (36 million dollars) pay.

Charges for an under-reporting allegation in more recent years are pending, and no trial date has been set.

Ghosn will be detained until January 1 or longer since he also faces breach of trust allegations.

Prosecutors say Ghosn and Kelly are flight risks.

After his release, Kelly will have to follow rules set by the court, including those regarding his residence and travel, prosecutors have said.

The arrests of Ghosn, who is a car industry icon, and his right-hand man have triggered international attention and raised concerns about the Japanese practice of extended detentions.

Nissan has removed Kelly as representative director and Ghosn as chairman, but they are still company board members.

The board of Renault SA, the French ally of Nissan, has retained him while naming an interim chair.

Mitsubishi took a measure similar to Nissan.

Kelly, 62, joined Nissan North American in 1988 and worked in legal counsel and human resources at the company, and has been a member of the carmaker’s board since 2012.

His American lawyer, Aubrey Harwell, has said he is innocent and that he only acted according to the law and according to company policy.

Ghosn has also denied the allegations and told lawyers that he is determined to prove his innocence in court, according to Japanese media reports.

The scandal also raised concerns over the Japanese carmaker and the future of its alliance with Renault, which in 1999 sent Ghosn to turn around Nissan, then on the verge of bankruptcy.

He has since led Nissan’s rise to the world’s second-largest carmaker.

Ghosn’s downfall is seen by some as a manoeuvre by others at Nissan to gain power in the alliance.

Japan Nissan Kelly
A car carrying Nissan Motor’s executive Greg Kelly comes out of Tokyo’s Detention Centre (AP)

Kelly’s wife, Donna, had made a plea to the Japanese authorities for her husbands’ early release in a video message carried on Tuesday by Japanese public broadcaster NHK and others.

She said that her husband was “framed” by Nissan and that he also should be released to get his neck problem treated.

“Release Greg and allow him to come home and have the surgery he needs,” she said.

“That is our family’s Christmas wish.”

Kelly reportedly suffers from spinal stenosis, a condition of a narrowing of the spaces in the spine that can cause pain, tingling or numbness.

He had been scheduled to undergo surgery in Nashville in early December, according to media reports.