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Ghosn says lawyer change ‘start of process of establishing innocence’


(FILES) This file photo taken on November 20, 2013 shows then-Nissan Motor president Carlos Ghosn speaking during a press briefing at the company’s booth at the Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo. – Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said on January 8, 2019 he had been “wrongly accused and unfairly detained” at a high-profile court hearing in Japan, his first appearance since his arrest in November rocked the business world. (Photo by TORU YAMANAKA / AFP)

Detained former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said on Wednesday that shaking up his legal team was the beginning of the process of “establishing my innocence” as his trial nears.

“I look forward to defending myself vigorously, and this represents the beginning of the process of not only establishing my innocence but also shedding light on the circumstances that led to my unjust detention,” the tycoon said in a statement.

The statement came after his two main attorneys, including lead defence lawyer Motonari Otsuru, quit suddenly.

Ghosn thanked Otsuru and his team for their “tireless and diligent work and courage during the interrogation phase of my incarceration”.

He described Otsuru as a “very capable and intelligent man and lawyer”.

The surprise decision came on the eve of an expected first meeting between the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors, and defence lawyers to discuss the outlines of Ghosn’s trial.

Ghosn confirmed that he had appointed Junichiro Hironaka as his new lead attorney.

The former head of Nissan and Renault has been in detention since November 19 and faces charges including under-reporting his compensation and attempting to shift personal investment losses to his employer’s books.

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