Carlos Ghosn's Japanese lawyers quit after former Nissan chief absconds

Junichiro Hironaka, chief lawyer of the ousted Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman Carlos Ghosn, attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan March 4, 2019. — Reuters pic
Junichiro Hironaka, chief lawyer of the ousted Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman Carlos Ghosn, attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan March 4, 2019. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, Jan 16 — Japanese attorneys representing Carlos Ghosn, including lead lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, quit today following the former Nissan chief's flight to Lebanon from Japan, where he had been fighting financial misconduct charges.

In an emailed statement, Hironaka said that everyone involved in the case at his practice had resigned. A spokeswoman there declined to give a reason.

A second lawyer in Ghosn's three-person legal team, Takashi Takano, also quit today, according to an official at his office.

A person who answered the phone at the office of the third lawyer, Hiroshi Kawatsu, said she didn't know if he still represented the former automotive executive.

Ghosn, who fled from Tokyo last month, told Reuters in an interview in Beirut with his wife Carole yesterday that he was happy to stay in Lebanon for the rest of his life and claimed he was treated with “brutality” during his detention and bail in Japan. Carole said she was “done with Japan.”

Japan has issued international wanted notices for the couple, which means the two will live in Lebanon as fugitives and could be arrested if they leave their country. Japan's Justice Minister Masako Mori has described Ghosn's criticism of her country's judicial system as “absolutely intolerable.”

Hironaka, who earlier expressed disappointment at his client's decision to abscond, had said he would quit once his client had settled his account.

Hired by Ghosn in February, the 74-year-old lawyer is known for his combative style. He has been called the “Razor” after winning high-profile cases, including the acquittal of a senior lawmaker on financial misconduct charges and the exoneration of a bureaucrat jailed for four months on corruption charges fabricated by prosecutors. — Reuters

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