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Carlos Ghosn's lead defence lawyer resigns

Chief lawyer for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, Motonari Otsuru, speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo. Agence France-Presse

TOKYO: Two lawyers defending former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn on charges of financial misconduct submitted their resignations on Wednesday, their law firm said in a statement.

There was no immediate explanation as to why the attorneys, who include lead lawyer Motonari Otsuru, were quitting Ghosn's defence team.

Contacted by AFP, the firm declined to comment on the decision.

A brief statement said only that "today Otsuru and (Masato) Oshikubo submitted letters of resignation to the court as the defence lawyers for the case of Mr. Ghosn".

The former Nissan executive has been in detention since November 19 and faces three charges including under-reporting his compensation and attempting to shift losses to his employer's books.

Despite having taken on some of Japan's high-publicity cases, Otsuru is known for maintaining a low media profile and spoke publicly only once about the Ghosn case at a press conference.

He cut an owlish and cautious figure, admitting that his client was unlikely to make bail before his case came to court − and saying that could take at least six months.

A former prosecutor, Otsuru's representation of Ghosn pitted him against one of his old colleagues.

Otsuru pointedly declined to criticise the conditions his then-client was being held in, though Ghosn himself told AFP in an interview that he was in a "very hard" situation and slammed authorities for refusing him bail.

Agence France-Presse