Lawyers leading defence of Nissan ex-chairman Ghosn resign - InfoNews

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Lawyers leading defence of Nissan ex-chairman Ghosn resign

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2019, file photo, Motonari Ohtsuru, left, chief lawyer of the legal team for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, other members of the legal team, lawyers Go Kondo, center, and Masato Oshikubo sit in a courtroom ahead of a court hearing on a case of Ghosn at the Tokyo District Court in Tokyo. Ohtsuru and Oshikubo have handed in resignations, according to his office and a statement submitted to the court. The resignation Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, is the latest twist in the legal battle of Ghosn, who has been detained in Tokyo since his arrest in November. He has been charged with falsifying financial reports in under-reporting compensation and breach of trust in having Nissan Motor Co. shoulder investment losses and paying a Saudi businessman.(Kiyoshi Ota/Pool Photo via AP, File)
February 13, 2019 - 1:27 AM

TOKYO - Motonari Ohtsuru, the lawyer heading the defence for Nissan Motor Co.'s former chairman Carlos Ghosn, has resigned.

Ohtsuru's office and a statement submitted to the court confirmed that Ohtsuru had quit on Wednesday. It was the latest twist in Ghosn's legal battle after he was arrested in November. He has been charged with falsifying financial reports by under-reporting his compensation and with breach of trust.

Ghosn has repeatedly said he is innocent.

It was unclear why Ohtsuru was no longer representing Ghosn or if Ghosn had dismissed him. Another attorney chosen to represent the auto industry star executive also resigned as of Wednesday.

Japanese media said that Junichiro Hironaka, a defence lawyer famous for winning innocent verdicts in a legal system where 99 per cent of the cases result in convictions, has been hired to defend Ghosn. The reports cited unnamed sources as is customary with Japanese media and could not immediately be confirmed.

Hironaka's office said the attorney was out. It declined comment until his return.

Ohtsuru is a former star Tokyo prosecutor. In Japan, lawyers who are former prosecutors, are reputed to be good because they know how prosecutors work.

But Ohtsuru and Ghosn seemed to be at odds over his defence, with Ghosn strongly asserting his innocence from the start through his own statements, as well as those of his other lawyers, family members and representatives.

Ghosn has tried without success to gain release on bail, offering to wear an electronic monitoring tether.

Ohtsuru seemed more accepting of Ghosn's prolonged detention since his arrest on Nov. 19. In a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo, Ohtsuru said prosecutors might detain Ghosn for months more.

The Tokyo District Court, prosecutors and lawyers for Ghosn were scheduled to meet Thursday to work on preparing for his trial, meaning that Ghosn's new lawyer will be headed to that meeting.

Trials in Japan take much preparation and the meeting does not mean it will start soon.

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

On Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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