Carlos Ghosn's lawyer apologises as workman disguise ploy backfires

Andrew Cummings
March 10, 2019

The public face of Ghosn's legal team, Junichiro Hironaka, said he was surprised to see Ghosn's disguise on TV and didn't play a part in coming up with the elaborate strategy created to confuse the media.

But a senior Tokyo prosecutor said Friday that the decision to grant bail could risk "destruction of evidence".

Ghosn, who headed the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Motors alliance, has been charged with falsifying financial reports, under-reporting his income and breach of trust in having Nissan Motor Co. shoulder personal investment losses and make payments to a Saudi businessman. After a judge granted him bail earlier in the week it was only a matter of time before Ghosn left detention, and the press was waiting for him.

Carlos Ghosn's lawyer apologises as workman disguise ploy backfires

Ghosn, who faces three charges of financial misconduct, must adhere to strict conditions in addition to the almost $9 million he paid in bail.

The following conditions were imposed on ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn as part of the $9 million (Dh33m) bail that freed him from jail, according to a member of his legal team. Chairman Carlos Ghosn on Friday apologized for coming up with the failed workman disguise for him that made global headlines when Ghosn was released on bail two days ago, saying he had embarrassed his client.

His lawyer Takashi Takano says it was an effort to protect the former chairman of Nissan from intense media attention.

"Like a scene from a movie", Carlos Ghosn emerged after more than 100 days in a Tokyo detention center, flanked by guards, curiously dressed as a Japanese construction worker earlier this week.

"Due to my immature plan, I have muddled the fame he built over a lifetime [.] I am very sorry", wrote Takano. "When I saw them I thought it was harsh", said Shingi Bando, an official at the Japan Bail Support Association, which offers support to people who struggle to come up with bail.

Takano said he suggested the disguise for Ghosn hoping to throw media off his trail.

"Not only would he not be able to have his life back but also his health would be damaged", if the home was located, Takano said.

"The life of his family and his neighbours would be threatened", he added. "We definitely needed to avoid such situation".

The blue-collar theme continued when Ghosn got into a silver van - a Suzuki - with a workman's ladder strapped to its roof and, pursued by media motorcycles and helicopters, was driven across Tokyo to his lawyer's office.

As they returned several hours later by vehicle, a press pack crowded around Ghosn but he did not make any comment.

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