Ghosn’s Former Japan Lawyer Sues Government for Illegal Search

Carlos Ghosn’s former lawyers in Japan have sued the Japanese government, saying that a search of their office in January following the former auto executive’s escape to Lebanon was illegal.

Junichiro Hironaka, the lead attorney, along with other lawyers from the firm filed their lawsuit on Wednesday, seeking about 3 million yen ($29,000) in damages. A representative for Hironaka’s legal practice confirmed that the claims were filed after it was first reported by the Jiji news agency and other Japanese media.

Ghosn’s Former Japan Lawyer Sues Government for Illegal Search

Hironaka led the legal team representing the former chairman and chief executive of Nissan Motor Co., who was arrested in late 2018 on charges of financial misconduct. He made a dramatic escape at the end of December 2019 on a private jet, hidden in a large box, stunning Japanese authorities. After Ghosn fled, Hironaka notified the Tokyo District Court that he no longer represented the businessman.

Although Hironaka’s office was searched, he didn’t turn over a computer that prosecutors believe Ghosn used when he was released on bail, citing rights granted by law to protect a client’s confidentiality, broadcaster NHK reported at the time.

Ghosn remains in Lebanon, where he holds citizenship, and has maintained his innocence, saying the allegations against him were part of a conspiracy to prevent further integration between Nissan and Renault SA, its biggest shareholder and partner in a global automaking alliance. He has said in interviews since fleeing that that Hironaka knew nothing about his escape plans.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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