Carlos Ghosn’s chief defense lawyers have resigned in a setback for the former Nissan and Renault leader, who has been detained and charged in Japan on accusations of financial misconduct.

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Lead lawyer Motonari Otsuru and his colleague Masato Oshikubo informed the Tokyo District Court of their intent to withdraw, their law firm, San Law, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement did not offer a reason for pulling out of Ghosn’s defense team.
Otsuru was considered the star member of an elite team hired by Ghosn. He is a former prosecutor who was seen as bolstering Ghosn’s defense with inside knowledge of the prosecutor’s strategy and Japan’s judicial system.                                                            He offered a spirited defense of Ghosn at a January news conference, with a point-by-point rebuttal of the prosecutor’s charges.

Otsuru tried but failed to win Ghosn’s release on bail before trial. He said in January that Ghosn could remain in detention for up to six months before the case goes to court.

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New lawyer

Ghosn has selected Junichiro Hironaka as his new lawyer, the Sankei newspaper reported, citing unidentified people.

Ghosn has another attorney, Go Kondo, who works at a different firm, representing him. Kondo’s law firm said Kondo has not turned in a letter of resignation as of Tuesday, but it declined to say what Kondo will do going forward.

Ghosn has also reportedly tapped U.S.-based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Ghosn has been indicted for alleged misconduct including understating his income at Nissan by tens of millions of dollars. He has denied wrongdoing. Prosecutors say the alleged crimes could carry a jail term of up to 10 years.
Source: Automotive News