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Former Nissan Chair Carlos Ghosn's lawyers seek dismissal of charges, accuse prosecutors of misconduct

Key Points
  • The lawyers for former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn have asked a Tokyo court to dismiss all charges filed against him in a financial misconduct case.
  • The lawyers said in a statement Thursday the papers filed in Tokyo District Court last week allege prosecutorial misconduct they say will prevent Ghosn from having a fair trial.
  • The fillings say the case comes from unlawful collusion between the prosecutors, government officials and executives at Nissan Motor to drum up allegations of wrongdoing to remove him.
Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., sits in a vehicle as he leaves his lawyer's office in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
Takaaki Iwabu | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Carlos Ghosn's lawyers have asked the Tokyo District Court to dismiss all charges against the former Nissan Motor chairman, saying prosecutors colluded with government officials and Nissan executives to oust him from his post.

Ghosn's legal team in a press release on Thursday said they had submitted two court filings ahead of a planned pre-trial meeting the same day that list cases of "misconduct" by prosecutors and "factual defences" that show Ghosn is innocent of financial wrongdoing.

"The prosecution against him resulted from unlawful collusion between the prosecutors, government officials at METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), and executives at Nissan, who formed a secret task force to drum up allegations of wrongdoing," the lawyers said in the release.

Since his first arrest in November, Ghosn has been charged four times on allegations he underreported his Nissan salary, temporarily transferred personal financial losses to Nissan's books and authorised payments to car dealers with the purpose of enriching himself.

Currently on bail in Japan, Ghosn is not allowed to contact his wife or use the internet unsupervised and has had to submit to surveillance of his movements. Japanese courts have dismissed several appeals by Ghosn to ease those restrictions that his lawyers have argued violates Japan's constitution and international law on family separation.

In September, Ghosn and Nissan agreed to settle claims from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision over false financial disclosures related to Ghosn's compensation. Nissan agreed to pay $15 million, while Ghosn agreed to a $1 million civil penalty and a 10-year ban from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded U.S. company.

Courts in Japan have yet to fix a schedule for his prosecution to begin, with local media reporting that his first trial may start in March. Ghosn's defence team of 13 lawyers includes four lawyers in Japan who will defend him in the upcoming trials.