TOKYO (AFP) - Lawyers for former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn on Thursday (Feb 28) filed a fresh bail request for the auto titan after more than three months of detention, the Tokyo District Court said.
It is the first bail request filed by the 64-year-old since he shook up his legal team as he crafts his defence on three charges of financial misconduct.
Ghosn’s legal team was not immediately available for comment on the new bail request.
His previous legal team deployed a rarely-used article of the Japanese constitution to force the court to explain why the Franco-Lebanese-Brazilian remained in detention.
A judge said Ghosn’s continued detention was justified because he posed a flight risk and there was a possibility he would conceal evidence.
Ghosn and his lawyers have argued that neither of those is the case, and he even offered to wear a tracking bracelet and hire guards to monitor his whereabouts, pledging to stay in Japan.
But so far the courts have shown no inclination to end his lengthy pre-trial detention, which has drawn some criticism internationally and from rights groups.
Prosecutors have defended his detention while they investigate three charges of financial misconduct, two involving alleged under-reporting of his salary and a third over a complex scheme in which Ghosn allegedly sought to transfer his losses to Nissan’s books.
Ghosn has denied all the allegations against him, and in an interview with AFP from his Tokyo detention he slammed his continued detention.
“Why am I being punished before being found guilty?” Ghosn asked, speaking to AFP and the Les Echos daily in January.
The refusal to grant him bail “would not be normal in any other democracy,” he said.
Ghosn earlier this month shook up his legal team, replacing his previous lead lawyer – a former prosecutor – with hot-shot lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, who has a history of taking on high-profile cases.