Economy

Japanese lawyer apologises for Carlos Ghosn's costume fiasco

Japanese lawyer apologises for Carlos Ghosn's costume fiasco

Carlos Ghosn's lawyer has apologised for his "amateur plan" to disguise the vehicle industry titan as a manual labourer on his release from prison yesterday. He was arrested by the Tokyo District Prosecutor's Office last November 19, 2018 following allegations of financial misconduct.

Ghosn - charged with financial misconduct and facing a maximum prison sentence of 15 years - has agreed to strict bail conditions and given assurances he will remain in Tokyo, surrender his passport to his lawyer and submit to extensive surveillance.

Ghosn's controversial detention and highly anticipated release on bail took a comical turn as he tried to exit the Tokyo detention facility in disguise.

Doubters have questioned the effectiveness of the conditions, with Japanese media speculating that Ghosn could easily leave his residence and call or meet people involved in the case. Ghosn is facing a number of criminal charges from his time at the automaker.

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.

Mr Ghosn, among the world's most prominent auto executives whose dramatic rescue of Nissan two decades ago made him a celebrity in the industry and in Japan, was barely recognisable as he left Tokyo Detention House where he had been detained for more than 100 days in a small cell with no heating.

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After posting almost $9 million in bail, Ghosn walked out of jail Wednesday dressed in an orange security belt, a blue cap, glasses and a face mask.

The intense media attention was what led Ghosn's lawyers to suggest he leave the Tokyo Detention Center after his release on bail Wednesday in a laborer's outfit of cap, surgical mask and high-visibility vest, attorney Takashi Takano said.

But Takano acknowledged the plan backfired, with the world's media instead snapping photos and filming video of Ghosn, transformed from his previously suave executive image. "I feel sorry about that", he added.

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

His disguise was roundly mocked by the media, with one Japanese TV station even re-enacting the incident complete with a man in a lookalike outfit, and a similar van to the one Mr Ghosn used. On the day of his release, Ghosn was widely filmed and photographed in the freaky disguise, including as he got into a minivan complete with a workman's ladder.


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