Ghosn’s lawyer: Carlos is innocent

The case against former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn could damage Japan’s reputation as a place to do business, according to the veteran lawyer leading his defense team who maintains he is certain his client is innocent.


Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Junichiro Hironaka said as with the world closely watching developments in the case, he is concerned it “could signal that Japan is unpredictable and excessive in what it allows authorities to do to individuals, in terms of conducting business.”


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On November 19, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office arrested the 64-year-old Brazilian-born French auto executive when he arrived at Haneda airport, on suspicion of underreporting his income.


The judge, on another two additional counts of financial misconduct, had him arrested again. This includes allegedly understating his income on a different occasion and aggravated breach of trust for the alleged transfer investment losses to Nissan during the global financial crisis in 2008.


Ghosn replaced his legal team after that, which had been led by former local prosecutor Motonari Otsuru, with one now headed by Hironaka, known for using aggressive tactics to defend high-profile clients.


Hirokana stressed that Ghosn is innocent of all the allegations despite the overwhelming evidence against him and that he happened to have a similar hunch when he first talked to a former high ranking official at the health ministry, who was falsely accused of fraud in 2009. Hironaka successfully defended Muraki.


He is also known for handling other high-profile cases and successfully defended notable figures such as Ichiro Ozawa, an influential politician who was accused of involvement in a political funds scandal.


Asked when Ghosn’s trial will start, Hironaka said it will probably begin this summer or later. Hironaka added that with Ghosn’s detention having now continued for over three months, the world is growing increasingly doubtful about the fairness of Japan’s criminal justice system.


Reference: Ghosn’s lawyer worries about case’s impact on Japan’s reputation and believes ex-Nissan chief is innocent


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