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Handcuffed and roped up, Ghosn to address court in person

Jan 07 2019 11:19
Kae Inoue, Bloomberg

Carlos Ghosn will speak publicly on Tuesday for the first time since his arrest almost two months ago, when he appears in a Japanese court.

Handcuffed and with a rope tied around his waist, as is the practice in Japanese courts, the former Nissan chair will declare his innocence and deny any wrongdoing, according to his chief lawyer, Motonari Otsuru. After weeks in jail, where he is being held for alleged financial crimes, Ghosn will have 10 minutes to address the Tokyo district court.

It's the executive’s first opportunity to mount a defence in person following industry-rocking allegations that he under-reported his compensation and transferred personal trading losses to Nissan. The hearing follows a request by Ghosn's legal team for an explanation on why he remains in detention.

The embattled car titan will be treated like any other suspect at Tuesday's session. According to his legal team, Ghosn will appear before the judge, who will confirm personal details such as date of birth and address, before sitting in front of his lawyers.

Later, Ghosn will be allowed to address the court in English. But neither he nor his lawyers will be allowed to talk to others there such as family members or media.

The hearing won't just give Ghosn a break from incarceration. For his lawyers, it's a chance to argue the ex-Nissan chief's case and push back against his prolonged detention. The legal team, who’ll have 20 minutes to address the court, plans to insist there's no evidence for the allegations against him and they’ll probably ask for bail after the hearing, said Otsuru.

Ghosn's legal team will speak to the media at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Tokyo on Tuesday afernoon. Otsuru is due to read a statement from Ghosn.

The architect behind Nissan's alliance with France's Renault, Ghosn was initially held without charge. His arrest has rocked the world's largest auto pact, amid speculation it was part of a coup by forces within Nissan aimed at staving off a merger of the carmakers.

Ghosn has lost about 10kg in jail and is biding time by reading books, his son Anthony Ghosn told France's Journal du Dimanche at the weekend.

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