LAWYERS for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn have requested that financial misconduct charges against him be dismissed.
They said in a statement today that they filed papers in Tokyo District Court last week, alleging prosecutorial misconduct that would prevent him from having a fair trial.
The papers say the case results from unlawful collusion between prosecutors, government officials and executives at the car giant to drum up criminal allegations in order to remove Ghosn as chairman.
They wanted to prevent him from further integrating Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA, according to a statement released by the lawyers on Thursday.
‘To execute this scheme, the prosecutors illegally ceded their investigative powers to certain Nissan employees and consultants, and, together with Nissan, unlawfully trampled Mr Ghosn’s legal rights in Japan and around the world,’ it said.
Ghosn, who says he is innocent, was arrested in November 2018 and is on bail awaiting trial in Japan. Prosecutors say they are confident they have a case.
The statement cited as misconduct the alleged abuse of the plea-bargaining system to obtain false and misleading testimony from Nissan employees and reliance on Nissan’s own investigation, which the lawyers claim was biased.
It also cited the seizure of papers related to Ghosn’s trial and media leaks intended to harm his reputation.
Under Japan’s criminal justice system, there is a lengthy stage of pre-trial sessions where the defence and prosecutors present evidence. The latest filing was part of such pre-trial procedures.
The court might not make any decision on the latest filing but in the meantime the trial could start. It is expected to begin next year but it is not known how long it would last.
Ghosn’s bail conditions forbid him from contacting his wife, Carole, a requirement the defence has repeatedly asked to be removed. Another such request was filed today.
Prosecutors say the restriction is to prevent Ghosn and his wife colluding in ways that could jeopardise the case.