Published: Sun, March 10, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Lawyer says he was behind Carlos Ghosn’s ‘disguise’ during release

Lawyer says he was behind Carlos Ghosn’s ‘disguise’ during release

Takashi Takano, a lawyer for Carlos Ghosn, walks out the main building as he leads a group of security guards surrounding Carlos Ghosn (not in picture) at the Tokyo Detention House March 6, 2019.

Many had been baffled by why Ghosn was wearing a blue cap, surgical mask and a construction worker's outfit when he was released Wednesday.

Japanese media then devoted news programmes to dissecting Ghosn's disguise, with some stations even dressing up doubles in similar garb to discuss the outfit.

Carlos Ghosn was seen outside his residence on Friday afternoon.

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.

Takano said he wanted Ghosn to avoid detection and prevent "the whole world" from knowing where he lives.

Ghosn is charged with aggravated breach of trust and under-reporting his annual remuneration as Nissan chairman.

He was arrested November 19 and is awaiting trial on charges that he understated his income for years and abused his position by transferring personal investment losses to Nissan.

While on bail Ghosn, who had two previous bail applications rejected, will live at a designated residence with a surveillance camera.

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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.

Not only did the widely mocked getup - meant to throw reporters off the scent - fool no one, it heightened already intense media interest in Ghosn, who was released on bail on Wednesday.

Despite that concern, experts said such restrictions were unusual and even harsh in Japan, which has faced global criticism for the prolonged detention of suspects, who are often held until a trial starts, with defence lawyers banned from interrogations.

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

Any violations of these restrictions could send him back to jail.

The lawyer admitted his plan had ended in failure since the media recognized Ghosn despite his disguise, but said his client managed to be reunited with his family at his residence.

The former auto titan is looking forward to the press conference he will hold next week or later, Junichiro Hironaka, another defense lawyer for Ghosn, told reporters Friday.

Mr Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades and was a towering figure in the automotive industry, has been in detention since 19 November past year.

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