Lawyer defending ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn resigns

14 February, 2019, 01:21 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Chairman and CEO of the Renault Nissan Alliance attending a round table discussion during Auto China 2016 auto show in Beijing

"Renault has gathered sufficient evidence to understand and regret the methods used by Nissan and its lawyers to seek interviews with Renault employees through the Japanese public prosecutor's office", they said.

Ghosn, 64, was arrested in Japan and ousted as Nissan chairman last November and has since been indicted along with Nissan and a fellow director for failing to disclose more than $80 million in additional 2010-2018 compensation that he had arranged to be paid later.

Renault will scrap around 460,000 performance shares attributed to Ghosn since 2014-2015 and now worth 26 million euros, under proposals backed by the French government, its biggest shareholder, two people familiar with the matter said. Ghosn has denied wrongdoing. "I look forward to defending myself vigorously, and this represents the beginning of the process of not only establishing my innocence but also shedding light on the circumstances that led to my unjust detention".

The surprise shake-up came on the eve of an expected first meeting between the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors, and defence lawyers to discuss the outlines of Ghosn's eventual trial. "Otsuru was miscast. He worked at the heart of the special prosecutors office so he was not someone who was going to go after them aggressively", Gohara said. "The chances of an acquittal are considerably higher".

There was no immediate explanation as to why the attorneys, who include lead lawyer Motonari Otsuru, were quitting Ghosn's defence team.

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Last month Ghosn claimed the allegations of financial misconduct against him were the result of "plot and treason" by Nissan executives opposed to deeper integration between Renault and alliance partners Mitsubishi Motors.

In a statement, Ghosn thanked Otsuru for his team's "tireless and diligent work", calling him a "very capable and intelligent man and lawyer". He has been charged with falsifying financial reports by under-reporting his compensation and with breach of trust.

Otsuru said he was meeting Ghosn regularly for several hours at a time, describing his then-client as focused.

He also pointedly declined to criticise Ghosn's detention conditions, despite some worldwide concern about the repeated extension of the auto executive's pre-trial custody.

Japanese prosecutors also tend to have more influence with judges. In Ghosn's case, the judge at a January 8 hearing said his continued detention was due to flight risk and the danger of witness or evidence tampering.

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