Tokyo, Jan 16 (IANS) The Japanese legal team of ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has formally resigned after the executives escape from the country while out on bail and awaiting trial, it was confirmed on Thursday.
Both Junichiro Hironaka, Ghosn’s principal lawyer and one of the most respected in the country, and Takashi Takano, who helped arrange bail for Ghosn, have resigned, their respective offices confirmed to Efe news.
The revelation of the lawyers’ resignations came the same day in which a preparatory meeting was held for the trial, the start of which was scheduled for this spring and is now uncertain given Ghosn’s unlikely return to Tokyo.
Japanese law does not allow defendants to be tried in absentia for cases such as that which concerns Ghosn, although no final decision on this case has been announced.
Ghosn’s lawyers were scheduled to participate in Thursday’s meeting to explain the auto executive’s escape and his activities while on bail, but did not attend, according to local media.
Hironaka’s law firm last week rebuffed an attempt by the prosecutor’s office to seize one of the computers used by Ghosn during his release on bail, considering that surrendering it would violate attorney-client confidentiality.
The lawyer does not intend to appear before reporters to explain the decision, he said in a brief statement.
Ghosn fled clandestinely from Japan to Lebanon at the end of December while on bail over alleged financial misconduct charges, the trial for which was expected in April.
The former Nissan chairman who has French, Brazilian and Lebanese passports, pulled off a daring escape from the Asian country and is currently in Beirut, from where he has continued to insist he “did not escape justice. I fled injustice and persecution, political persecution”.
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.
For now, the Lebanese prosecutor’s office, which is investigating Ghosn for a separate case linked to its national interests, has prohibited the businessman from leaving the country.