Lawyer sorry for embarrassing Ghosn by planning workman disguise

Roman Schwartz
March 10, 2019

In the event, not only was Ghosn widely filmed and photographed in the weird disguise, including as he got into a silver minivan complete with a workman's ladder, but media in helicopters and on motorbikes tracked the vehicle around Tokyo.

A lawyer on Carlos Ghosn's defence team has apologised for encouraging him to leave detention this week in a workman's disguise, saying he feared he had damaged the former Nissan chair's reputation.

Ghosn walked out of a local jail Wednesday after more than 100 days of detention following an unexpected decision from the Tokyo District Court, despite strong opposition from prosecutors.

The crowd of media that had been at the facility, waiting for hours, spotted Ghosn despite his outfit and followed the van he entered across town in a spectacle broadcast live on television.

Takashi Takano said his "amateur plan" had backfired.

Mr Ghosn is charged with financial misconduct and breach of trust. Chairman Carlos Ghosn apologized Friday for attempting to disguise him as a workman in a move that backfired and made worldwide headlines when Ghosn was released on bail two days ago, saying he had embarrassed his client.

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Takano asked media to give his client privacy.

Despite that concern, experts said such restrictions were unusual and even harsh in Japan, which has faced worldwide criticism for the prolonged detention of suspects, who are often held until a trial starts, with defence lawyers banned from interrogations. The court rejected two earlier requests by Ghosn for bail. The prosecutor stayed tight-lipped about whether Ghosn, who is on a one billion yen ($9 million) bond, may face re-arrest or new charges.

Takano said he came up with the disguise scheme because he was anxious that the place Ghosn will be living "would be known throughout the world". While it didn't entirely work, Takano said, "by some miracle" Ghosn managed to have a private reunion with his family in his new residence. While Ghosn was said to be relieved to be released, he initially called the bail terms "somewhat disgusting" and had to be convinced by lawyers to accept the strict terms of near house arrest.

Nissan, which makes the March subcompact, Leaf electric vehicle and Infiniti luxury models, has declined comment on the criminal case, but says its investigation has found misconduct by Ghosn.

Mr Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades and was a towering figure in the automotive industry, has been in detention since 19 November past year.

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