Ghosn lawyer says pursuing different strategy to previous legal team

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/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) – The lawyer for former Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chairman Carlos Ghosn on Monday said his team would pursue a different legal strategy from the ousted executive’s previous team in defending him against charges of financial misconduct.

At a media briefing, Junichiro Hironaka said the new team he was heading would not be limited to the strategy taken by Ghosn’s previous lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, who was replaced in February.

“We are in no way limited by Otsuru’s activities while he was heading Ghosn’s team,” Hironaka told a media briefing.

“As the new legal team we will going forward with a new legal strategy.”

Ghosn, who has been held in custody at a detention center in Tokyo for over three months, hired Hironaka as his chief defense lawyer last month in an overhaul of his legal team as he fights financial misconduct charges in Japan. He has denied wrongdoing.

Since taking over Ghosn’s defense team last month, Hironaka has argued the allegations should have been resolved as an internal company matter without the involvement of prosecutors, and blasted the judicial system for keeping his client in jail.

Ghosn has been in custody since his initial arrest in late November over allegations that he under-reported his Nissan compensation for nearly a decade through 2018. He also has been charged with aggravated breach of trust.

In statements and in a public court appearance in January, Ghosn declared his innocence and argued he has been wrongly detained. In an interview with domestic media, he accused some of his Nissan colleagues of resorting to “plot and treason” to bring the financial misconduct allegations against him out of concern about closer ties with partner Renault SA.

Nissan itself has alleged Ghosn deferred a portion of his compensation until after retirement as a way to keep his salary out of the public eye, and that he temporarily transferred personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books around 2008.

Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Tim Kelly; Editing by Christopher Cushing

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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