Renault denounces Nissan over Ghosn investigation

Nissan wants a different chairman from Renault - concern for conflict of interest, power imbalance

Hironaka's career includes a successful defense of Atsuko Muraki, a former senior bureaucrat, against corruption charges.

The fallen executive is trying to step up his defense from behind bars after Otsuru's team failed several times to win bail for Ghosn since his November 19 arrest. He has denied the charges.

In a twist of fate, representing Ghosn's pitted him against prosecutor Hiroshi Morimoto, a former colleague. Prosecutors say the alleged crimes could carry a jail term of up to 10 years.

He replaced former prosecutor Motonari Otsuru with hot-shot lawyer Junichiro Hironaka, who has a history of taking on high-profile cases and enjoys an enviable acquittal rate in a country where nearly every trial results in a guilty verdict. In Japan, lawyers who are former prosecutors, are reputed to be good because they know how prosecutors work.

"Hironaka is an experienced defense lawyer who has won a number of cases".

Ohtsuru's office and a statement submitted to the court confirmed that Ohtsuru had quit on Wednesday.

More news: Reward Offered In Search For Killer Of New Rochelle Woman

The surprise shake-up came on the eve of an expected first meeting between the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors, and defence lawyers to discuss the outlines of Ghosn's eventual trial.

"As we begin the trial phase, I have chose to engage Hironaka-sensei as my legal counsel", Ghosn said, using a honorific suffix. "I look forward to defending myself vigorously, and this represents the beginning of the process of not only establishing my innocence but also shedding light on the circumstances that led to my unjust detention". "Otsuru-sensei is a very capable and intelligent man and lawyer".

Last month Ghosn claimed the allegations of financial misconduct against him were the result of "plot and treason" by Nissan executives opposed to deeper integration between Renault and alliance partners Mitsubishi Motors.

Lawyers for French carmaker Renault have criticised their Japanese alliance partner Nissan for its handling of an internal probe into the Carlos Ghosn scandal, a Sunday newspaper has reported.

The scandal has roiled the global auto industry and created tension between Nissan and Renault.

Renault's newly-appointed chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, will meet Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa in Yokohama this week in a bid to secure the ties between the two companies.

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