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

Renault Chairman Jean Dominique Senard rejects suggestions that its alliance with Nissan might be on the rocks

Ghosn, who fled from Tokyo last month, told Reuters in an interview in Beirut on Wednesday that he was happy to remain in Lebanon for the rest of his life and claimed he was treated with "brutality" during his detention and bail in Japan.

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

In an emailed statement on Thursday, Hironaka said everyone involved in the case at his practice had resigned.

A second lawyer on Ghosn's three-member team, Takashi Takano, also quit on Thursday, an official in his office said.

Hironaka is respected for winning innocent verdicts in high-profile cases in this nation where the conviction rate is higher than 99%.

One of the cases that he has dealt with is that of Atsuko Muraki, a Ministry of Welfare Officer accused of having falsely approved a group to be eligible for postal discounts.

The Lebanese public prosecutor's office received an Interpol red notice requesting authorities provisionally arrest Ghosn pending extradition or a similar procedure, seeing as Japan doesn't have an extradition treaty with Lebanon.

Ghosn said Nissan and Japanese officials were shocked by a decision by the French government in 2015 to increase the state's shareholding in Renault and double its voting rights.

The case has cast a harsh light on Japan's justice system, igniting a fierce publicity battle between the former businessman and Justice Minister Masako Mori, who has described Ghosn's criticism as "absolutely intolerable".

Ghosn, who has signed on an worldwide team of lawyers, has expressed willingness to stand trial in Lebanon. The automaker has denied recent reports about troubles in the Renault alliance and has stressed the alliance remains strong. They were hired to defend Ghosn on Japanese charges that say he defrauded investors by understating his salary and misappropriated Nissan funds.

Senard said Renault's board would likely meet soon to discuss the appointment, but added there was no urgency as the interim arrangements were working well.

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



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