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Ghosn lawyers in Japan refuse to comply with seizure warrant

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Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn and his wife Carole leaving the office of his lawyer in Tokyo last year. AFP

AFP – Lawyers for former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn yesterday refused to turn over a computer used by the auto tycoon before he jumped bail and fled the country last month.

Prosecutors arrived at the offices of one of Ghosn’s Japanese lawyers with a warrant for seizure of the machine — only to be told to go away.

“Tokyo district prosecutors came to our office with a warrant to seize items used by Mr. Ghosn such as a computer,” the defence team said in a short statement.

“In light of attorney-client confidentiality obligations, we exercised the right to refuse the seizure, as permitted under Article 105 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and asked them to leave without entering our office,” the statement said.

Ghosn was out on bail in Japan on financial misconduct charges before he fled the country for Lebanon in late December.

Under the terms of his bail, he was only allowed to use the internet via a designated computer located at the law firm of Junichiro Hironaka, one of his attorneys.

Ghosn is due to address the media later yesterday in Beirut, where he has pledged to supply evidence that the allegations against him were a “plot” to prevent him from more closely aligning Nissan with its French partner Renault.

Ghosn’s sensational November 2018 arrest kicked off a rollercoaster saga that culminated with his astonishing escape last month, reportedly hidden inside an equipment box on a private plane.

Hironaka has said he was “dumbfounded” by news of Ghosn’s escape, which he learned about from the media.

Nissan has insisted Ghosn should be held accountable for his “various acts of misconduct”, saying on Tuesday it would continue to pursue legal action against him.

Ghosn hit back in a statement issued by his French defence team early yesterday saying Nissan’s investigation was “initiated and carried out for the specific, predetermined purpose of taking down Carlos Ghosn”.

The statement accused the firm of conducting an investigation that was “fundamentally flawed, biased and lacking in independence from its inception”.

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