Japanese auto chief Carlos Ghosn appoints defence lawyer nicknamed 'Razor'

Japanese auto chief Carlos Ghosn appoints defence lawyer nicknamed 'Razor'

Japanese auto chief Carlos Ghosn appoints defence lawyer nicknamed 'Razor'

Japanese media said Junichiro Hironaka has been hired to defend Ghosn but the lawyer's office declined to comment.

Ghosn, 64, was arrested in Japan and ousted as Nissan chairman last November and has since been indicted along with Nissan and a fellow director for failing to disclose more than $80 million in additional 2010-2018 compensation that he had arranged to be paid later.

Motonari Ohtsuru, the lawyer who had initially headed his defence, resigned as of Wednesday.

Hironaka, 73, has won several high-profile cases, helping acquit senior lawmaker Ichiro Ozawa and senior bureaucrat Atsuko Muraki.

Lawyer Hiroshi Kawatsu, an expert in judicial reform who has studied and done research in the U.S., has also joined Ghosn's defence team, Mr Hironaka's office said.

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Otsuru is a former star Tokyo prosecutor.

But Mr Ohtsuru and Ghosn have appeared at odds over his defence strategy, with Ghosn strongly asserting his innocence from the start through his own statements, as well as those of his other lawyers, family members and representatives.

Ghosn has tried without success to gain release on bail, offering to wear an electronic monitoring tether.

Renault will scrap around 460,000 performance shares attributed to Ghosn since 2014-2015 and now worth 26 million euros, under proposals backed by the French government, its biggest shareholder, two people familiar with the matter said.

Unlike in the U.S., in Japan prosecutors can appeal to a higher court if a suspect is found innocent. Suspects often are re-arrested on suspicion of new charges to keep them in custody while prosecutors attempt to build a case, and bail is the exception more than the rule.

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The Tokyo District Court, prosecutors and Ghosn's lawyers were scheduled to meet on Thursday to work on preparing for his trial.

Company sources, speaking to AFP ahead of the meeting, said the loss of the non-compete pay and stock options amounted to about 10 million euros ($11.3 million) for Ghosn, who remains in jail awaiting trial in Japan.

Ghosn's representatives say he was unaware the 50,000 euro rental of a palace within the Chateau de Versailles grounds had been charged to Renault, and now plans to repay it.

As part of his pay package, Ghosn was entitled to 100,000 Renault shares each year, but they were only convertible after four years in the company.

After a meeting on Wednesday, the board also said that he was not eligible for millions of euros' in stock options which were "subject to his presence within Renault".

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