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Nissan & Japanese Prosecutors Targeted By New Lawyer Of Carlos Ghosn

Nissan & Japanese Prosecutors Targeted By New Lawyer Of Carlos Ghosn
The charges that were brought against the dismissed Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn by the Japanese auto maker were termed as an internal company matter by the new lawyer of Ghoisn as the car maker, prosecutors and courts were targeted. The lawyer also alleged that the long duration that the Japanese courts had held his client was out of step with international norms.
“This should have been dealt with as an internal matter,” Junichiro Hironaka, who carries the nickname of ‘the Razor’, said while holding a press conference on the issue on Wednesday.
Since his arrest on charges of financial misconduct in Tokyo in on November 19, 2018, Ghosn has been in detention in a Tokyo jail. Following a number of failed attempts at getting bail, which has been granted long ago to a co-accused in the case,  Ghosn chose to replace his team of lawyers and hired a new team. The team had long-time defense attorney Hironaka as a key who replaced Motonari Otsuru.
The low-key approach adopted by a media-shy Otsuru is starkly replaced by the combative style of Hironaka.
the change in the legal team was made just as Ghosn’s lawyers and prosecutors and judges would be holding scheduled pre-trial discovery meetings in which evidences against Ghosn would be revealed and a list of witnesses would be handed over to the defendant’s lawyer.
He had no idea why he was replaced by Ghosn, said Hironaka and added that it was most probably because an experience criminal lawyer was desired by Ghosn for the trial phases of the case.
A number of high profile cases have been won by the 73-year-old defense attorney that includes ensuring acquittal of financial misconduct charges against a senior lawmaker, Ichiro Ozawa. He was also instrumental in ensuring victory for a senior Japanese bureaucrat Atsuko Muraki, who was alleged to have been falsely implicated by prosecutors on corruption charges and had spent four months in jail.
Despite possessing experienced and reputed criminal lawyers, the former boss of Nissan is up against a judicial system which has a reputation of allowing acquitting only three in one hundred accused in cases related to financial misconduct. Additionally, Japanese legal system also does not have a plea deal mechanism which could have allowed Ghosn to agree to accept guilt for lighter charges against a lighter sentence.
“The change in lawyers means a change in style, but the legal strategy will still be the same,” I don’t think it increases Ghosn’s chance of an acquittal,” said Masashi Akita, a defense lawyer at Shin-Yu Law Office in Osaka, before the comments made by Hironaka.
In between, Ghosh had appealed for bail and had even proposed wearing a GPS ankle bracelet to secure knowledge of his position and hire security guards so that he is not able to tamper with evidence, but had been unsuccessful.
The charges against Ghosn include underreporting of the compensations he got from Nissan, amounting to $82 million for a period of eight years. Nissan has also pressed breach of trust charges against the former chairman and accused Ghosn of transferring losses from incurred by him because of his personal investments on to Nissan. He has also been charged of improperly directing an amount of $14.7 million to a Saudi Arabian businessman’s company. All of the charges have been denied by Ghosn.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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