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Ghosn lawyer says optimistic on bail, pursuing different strategy to previous team

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Ghosn lawyer says optimistic on bail, pursuing different strategy to previous team
Junichiro Hironaka, chief lawyer of the ousted Nissan Motor Co Ltd chairman Carlos Ghosn, attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato   -   Copyright  ISSEI KATO(Reuters)
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TOKYO (Reuters) – The lawyer for former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn on Monday said he was optimistic the ousted executive could win bail soon and said he would pursue a different defence strategy against charges of financial conduct.

Junichiro Hironaka, known in Japan as “the Razor” for his successful defence of several high-profile cases, last month replaced Ghosn’s previous defence lawyer. He told a media briefing that his team would not be limited to the strategy taken by his predecessor.

“I believe it’s possible he could be released in the near future,” Hironaka said. “As the new legal team we will be going forward with a new legal strategy.”

Ghosn, who has been held in custody at a detention centre in Tokyo for over three months, hired Hironaka as his chief defence lawyer last month in an overhaul of his legal team as he fights financial misconduct charges in Japan. He has denied wrongdoing.

Since taking over Ghosn’s defence team, Hironaka has argued the allegations should have been resolved as an internal company matter without the involvement of prosecutors, and blasted the judicial system for keeping his client in jail.

Ghosn has been in custody since his initial arrest in late November over allegations that he under-reported his Nissan compensation for nearly a decade through 2018. He also has been charged with aggravated breach of trust.

In statements and in a public court appearance in January, Ghosn declared his innocence and argued he has been wrongly detained. In an interview with domestic media, he accused some of his Nissan colleagues of resorting to “plot and treason” to bring the financial misconduct allegations against him out of concern about closer ties with partner Renault SA.

Nissan itself has alleged Ghosn deferred a portion of his compensation until after retirement as a way to keep his salary out of the public eye, and that he temporarily transferred personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books around 2008.

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Tim Kelly; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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