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Lawyers for Ex-Nissan Chair Ghosn Ask That Charges be Dropped

FILE - Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves the Tokyo Detention Center in Tokyo, April 25, 2019.

Lawyers for former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who is awaiting trial in Japan, have asked a Tokyo court to dismiss all charges filed against him in his financial misconduct case.

The papers his lawyers filed in Tokyo District Court last week allege prosecutorial misconduct will prevent Ghosn from having a fair trial. The fillings allege unlawful collusion between the prosecutors, government officials and executives at Nissan Motor Co. drummed up allegations of wrongdoing to remove him as chairman.

They wanted to prevent Ghosn from further integrating Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA, according to the lawyers’ statement released Thursday.

“To execute this scheme, the prosecutors illegally ceded their investigative powers to certain Nissan employees and consultants, and together with Nissan, unlawfully trampled Mr. Ghosn’s legal rights in Japan and around the world,” it said.

Misconduct allegations

Ghosn says he is innocent. He was arrested a year ago and is out on bail. The prosecutors say they are confident they have a case.

The statement cited as misconduct the alleged abuse of the plea-bargaining system to get false and misleading testimony from Nissan employees and reliance on Nissan’s own investigation, which the lawyers call biased.

The statement also cited the seizure of papers related to his trial and media leaks to allegedly harm his reputation.

Ghosn’s legal team is scheduled to have a news conference later Thursday.

Rescued Nissan

Ghosn was sent to Nissan by Renault in the late 1990s and is credited with turning around a then near-bankrupt Nissan and leading it to one of the world’s top auto alliances.

The charges against Ghosn allege under-reporting his promised compensation in documents and breaching trust in making dubious payments.

Ghosn’s defense argues the promised compensation that allegedly wasn’t properly reported was never agreed upon.

The defense also says the allegations about dubious currency swaps caused no financial loss to Nissan.

The allegations about the dubious pay to Khaled Juffali Co., a Middle East business, are also groundless, according to the lawyers, as they say the payments were for legitimate services that benefited Nissan.