Ghosn’s Japan lawyer quits after client’s flight to Lebanon

International
Junichiro Hironaka

Junichiro Hironaka, center, lawyer for Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn, speaks to the media in Tokyo following a meeting with colleagues Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. Ghosn, who was awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges, was last seen on surveillance video leaving his Tokyo home alone on Dec. 29, presumably to board his getaway plane. (Kyodo News via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — One of the Japanese lawyers for former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has stepped down from that job after his client fled the country.

Junichiro Hironaka had been representing Ghosn in his defense against financial misconduct charges. His move, announced Thursday, was widely expected after Ghosn escaped to Lebanon late last month.

Hironaka said in a statement that the entire team working on the case at his office will quit but did not outline reasons. He has said before he felt some empathy for Ghosn’s reasons for escape, while stressing he had hoped to win vindication in court.

Hironaka is respected for winning high-profile cases in this nation where the conviction rate is higher than 99%. Among the cases he has handled is that of Atsuko Muraki, a Welfare Ministry official accused of falsely approving a group to qualify for mail discounts. She was acquitted in 2010.

Also Thursday, Nissan Motor Co. released steps it was taking to prevent a recurrence of Ghosn’s scandal, and reiterated its denouncement of Ghosn.

The automaker said in a report submitted to the Tokyo Stock Exchange that Ghosn had the authority to “single-handedly” determine directors’ compensation and such information was not shared with other departments at the company.

The underreporting of his future compensation is among the allegations Ghosn faced in Tokyo.

In a news conference last week in Beirut, Ghosn insisted again that he was innocent of the charges, which also included breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for his personal gain.

He said he fled because he felt he could not expect a fair trial in Japan.

Ghosn’s flight while he was out on bail awaiting trial means his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.

Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA of France.

Ghosn, who has signed on an international team of lawyers, has expressed willingness to stand trial in Lebanon.

Nissan also said that Ghosn obtained compensation from a venture company in the Netherlands set up Mitsubishi Motors Corp., a smaller Japanese automaker with which Nissan set up an alliance under Ghosn.

Ghosn has denied wrongdoing about the spending at the venture.

Nissan said independent outside directors had been added to its board.

It denied recent reports about troubles in the Renault alliance, and has stressed the alliance remains strong.

Japanese prosecutors have said repeatedly they are confident they have a case, and Ghosn’s flight underlines how he sought to skirt the law.

Ghosn led Nissan, based in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy.

___

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

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Overcast

Abbeville

65°F Overcast Feels like 65°
Wind
6 mph SE
Humidity
92%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Areas of fog. Low around 65F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
66°F Areas of fog. Low around 65F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
8 mph S
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Overcast

Crowley

68°F Overcast Feels like 68°
Wind
8 mph SSE
Humidity
97%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Low clouds and fog. Low 66F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
66°F Low clouds and fog. Low 66F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
8 mph S
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Overcast

Opelousas

67°F Overcast Feels like 67°
Wind
9 mph S
Humidity
99%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Foggy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low near 65F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph.
66°F Foggy. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low near 65F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph.
Wind
8 mph S
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Overcast

Breaux Bridge

69°F Overcast Feels like 69°
Wind
7 mph S
Humidity
93%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Low clouds and fog. Low 66F. Winds light and variable.
66°F Low clouds and fog. Low 66F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
9 mph S
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Overcast

New Iberia

68°F Overcast Feels like 68°
Wind
9 mph SSE
Humidity
100%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Low 52F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 50%.
65°F Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Low 52F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 50%.
Wind
5 mph S
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent

Trending Stories

Sidebar