TOKYO – One of the Japanese lawyers representing former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said on Saturday he felt betrayed and angry over his client’s departure from Japan, but that he understood the decision and feared he would not have had a fair trial.
“My client Carlos Ghosn left Japan on December 29, 2019, ignoring bail conditions,” Takashi Takano said in a post on this personal blog.
Ghosn was awaiting trial in Japan over alleged financial irregularities.
Takano was one of his lawyers.
On New Year’s Eve, when Takano heard about Ghosn going to Lebanon, he said “a feeling of intense anger arose.”
“I was betrayed, but the one who betrayed me is not Carlos Ghosn,” Takano wrote.
He added that his anger turned in a different direction when he realized how Ghosn was treated by the Japanese judicial system.
In his blog, the lawyer mentioned Ghosn’s strict bail conditions and reproduced alleged conversations he had with the businessman in which he expressed concerns about not getting a fair trial in Japan.
Takano claimed that Ghosn told him alleged criminals in Japan could not get a fair trial and judges have no independent power.
Ghosn, 65, was born in Brazil to a family of Lebanese origin. He has French nationality as well.
He was last seen leaving his Tokyo home on a security camera which was installed at his residence under his bail conditions.
The camera captured footage 24 hours of the day, but the images were only presented to the judge on the 15th day of every month.
The former chief of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance left Japan clandestinely and reached Beirut in a private jet with a stopover in Turkey earlier in the week.
He claimed to have left his country to escape “injustice and political persecution.”
According to Takano’s blog post, Ghosn had several times questioned whether he would get a free trial in the Japanese system since he was detained in late 2018.
The lawyer said Ghosn felt desperate and the frequency of his questions decreased as the process advanced.
Takano last saw the ex-Nissan boss on Christmas Eve during a video call – which was under strict vigilance and restriction by the judge – between Ghosn and his wife Carole.
Takano said that the majority of those accused cannot escape Japan like Ghosn did, but if they had his financial resources and connections they would try a similar thing.
“It is a lonely and disappointing conclusion. There should be a different conclusion,” said the lawyer.