Ghosn defence lawyers quit in new Nissan case twist | Business News

Two lawyers tasked with leading Carlos Ghosn’s defence against financial misconduct charges in Japan have dramatically left their roles.

No reason was given for the departure of the ex-Nissan chairman’s chief lawyer Motonari Otsuru or the second member of the defence team, Masato Oshikubo.

Their offices said they had resigned from the case formally in court but no reasons were given.

It opened the possibility that they had quit on Mr Ghosn’s orders, as it later emerged that the scandal-hit automotive executive had already hired a replacement.

He was said by Japan’s Sankei newspaper to be Junichiro Hironaka – a highly regarded defence specialist who has taken on many high profile cases in the country.

This courtroom sketch illustrated by Masato Yamashita depicts former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn attending his hearing at the Tokyo district court on January 8, 2019.
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This courtroom sketch illustrated by Masato Yamashita depicts former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn attending a hearing last month

He was yet to comment on his reported appointment.

Mr Ghosn has been detained in custody since his arrest in November last year when an internal investigation by Nissan uncovered alleged wrongdoing.

He has consistently denied the charges he faces related to breach of trust and under-reporting his salary and has pledged to clear his name in court.

The appointment of a new legal team threatens to further delay the case though it may signal a new attempt to secure bail for Mr Ghosn, who has so far been denied the opportunity to leave jail in Tokyo ahead of the trial.

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His detention marked a dramatic fall from grace as he was subsequently stripped of his day-to-day executive roles at Nissan, Mitsubishi and then Renault.

Mr Ghosn led the three-way partnership between the automakers but has, according to the Nikkei newspaper, accused Nissan of falsifying the allegations against him to stop his plans for closer co-operation with Renault.

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