Carlos Ghosn’s Defense Counsel for the First Time Unveils Multi-Pronged Attack on Prosecutorial Misconduct and Previews His Defenses to All Charges

In advance of today’s pre-trial court meeting, Carlos Ghosn’s defense counsel submitted two court filings to the Tokyo District Court.  These submissions:

  • Detail multiple acts of serious prosecutorial misconduct demonstrating that the charges against him are illegal, devoid of integrity, and should be dismissed; and 
  • Outline the facts and evidence demonstrating that he is innocent of all charges against him.

This press release serves as a brief summary of the court filings. The full set of court filings, which are available for viewing upon request, are the reference for a full understanding of the defense. Further background on these filings will be shared in a press conference hosted by Carlos Ghosn’s Japan Criminal Defense Counsel in Tokyo shortly following the pre-trial court meeting.

October 24, 2019 (Japan Standard Time) – Today, Carlos Ghosn’s defense counsel for the first time publicly unveiled in submissions filed in Court multiple acts of illegal prosecutorial misconduct that fundamentally call into question the integrity and viability of the prosecutors’ case.  Submitted in advance of a pretrial conference held today before the Court, Mr. Ghosn’s counsel contends that the prosecutors’ illegal acts warrant dismissal of all charges against him.  The court filings also preview, again for the first time, facts that contradict the allegations of the prosecutors’ claims that he violated the Financial Instruments Exchange Law and the Companies Act.     

The filings submitted to the court last week are available upon request.

Extensive Prosecutorial Misconduct Warrants the Dismissal of the Case  

As described in Mr. Ghosn’s counsel’s court filings, the prosecution against him resulted from unlawful collusion between the prosecutors, government officials at METI, and executives at Nissan, who formed a secret task force to drum up allegations of wrongdoing by Mr. Ghosn as a pretext to remove him as head of the Alliance.  Their goal: to oust Mr. Ghosn in order to prevent him from further integrating Nissan and Renault, which threatened the autonomy of one of Japan’s industry flagships. To execute this scheme, the prosecutors illegally ceded their investigative powers to certain Nissan employees and consultants, and together with Nissan, unlawfully trampled Mr. Ghosn’s legal rights in Japan and around the world.  

The prosecutors’ acts of illegal misconduct included:

  • Colluding with certain Nissan executives and government officials, including from METI, to prosecute Mr. Ghosn for the purpose of ousting him from the Alliance in order to head off further integration between Nissan and Renault
  • Illegally ceding prosecutorial and investigative powers to Nissan employees
  • Illegally relying on a hopelessly conflicted and biased Nissan internal investigation whose pre-determined mission was to find any potential allegation or perception of wrongdoing by Mr. Ghosn, not the true facts 
  • Abusing Japan’s new plea bargaining law to procure false and misleading testimony and ignore admitted wrongdoing by Nissan executives
  • Deploying Nissan employees to unlawfully invade Mr. Ghosn’s places of residence and illegally seize his personal property and confidential, attorney-client privileged files of his personal attorney  
  • Illegally seizing Mr. Ghosn’s wife, Carole Ghosn’s, cell phone and other personal property and confidential, attorney-client privileged notes and legal documents Mr. Ghosn had prepared for his defense
  • Denying Mr. Ghosn’s right to a speedy trial – even now, nearly one year after Mr. Ghosn’s arrest, there is no confirmed date for trial on the FIEL charges and no trial date at all for the Company Act charges 
  • Systematically, pervasively and unlawfully leaking confidential information to the media for the purpose of destroying Mr. Ghosn’s reputation and biasing the public against him, and falsely denying to the Court that they have done so 
  • Arbitrarily and discriminatorily arresting and prosecuting Mr. Ghosn, who is not Japanese, while ignoring admitted misconduct by Japanese executives of Nissan

Factual Defenses:  Mr. Ghosn is totally innocent of the charges against him

Mr. Ghosn is innocent of the charges against him.  His court filings preview for the first time facts that refute the prosecutors’ charges:

  • Violation of Financial Instruments and Exchange  Law (FIEL)
  • Nissan’s securities filings accurately disclosed the compensation Mr. Ghosn was paid
  • Nissan never committed to pay, and Mr. Ghosn never received, any unreported compensation 
  • Breach of Trust:  Shinsei Bank Swap Contracts
  • The Shinsei Bank transactions imposed no financial loss on Nissan; Mr. Ghosn paid in full the only payments required by the contracts when they were held by Nissan. 
  • Breach of Trust: Khaled Juffali Company (KJC)
  • The payments, which were made to KJC, not Khaled Juffali personally, were for legitimate and vitally important business services that substantially benefitted Nissan in the Middle East, a market critical to Nissan’s success
  • The payments included reimbursements to KJC of millions of dollars in expenses KJC paid for the benefit of Nissan
  • The payments were fully vetted and approved by multiple senior Nissan executives in accord with Nissan’s internal procedures
  • Breach of Trust: Suhail Bahwan Automobiles (SBA)
    • The payments to SBA, one of Nissan’s largest distributors in the world, were legitimate sales and marketing bonus and incentive payments for dramatically expanding Nissan’s sales in Oman and other Gulf countries  
    • The payments were fully vetted and approved by multiple senior Nissan executives, including, in one case, Mr. Saikawa, in accord with Nissan’s internal procedures
    • None of the funds Nissan paid to SBA were transferred for the benefit of Mr. Ghosn or members of his family


Today’s court filings detail a pervasive pattern of illegal misconduct by the Tokyo prosecutors that makes it impossible for Mr. Ghosn to receive a fair trial, and requires dismissal of the charges against him.  The prosecutors’ unlawful acts, which predated Mr. Ghosn’s arrest and continue through today, include collusion with Nissan executives and METI government officials in an effort to remove Mr. Ghosn from the Alliance and block him from further integrating Nissan and Renault.  The court filings demonstrate that the prosecutors’ case, which was politically motivated and poisoned from the start, is fundamentally flawed and contradicted by the evidentiary record.  This case should never have been brought.  If the charges are not dismissed, Mr. Ghosn is prepared to fight them vigorously. Mr. Ghosn is innocent of the charges. 

Mr. Ghosn’s Global Defense team

Messrs. Brad Karp and Michael Gertzman – Paul, Weiss

Messrs. Junichiro Hironaka, Takashi Takano, Hiroshi Kawatsu and Ms. Megumi Wada – Japanese Criminal Defense Counsel 

Mr. Carlos Abou Jaoude – Abou Jaoude & Associates 

Mr. Francois Zimeray – Zimeray & Finelle

Mr. Jean Yves Le Borgne – Le Borgne & Saint Palais

Messrs. Roeland de Mol and Laurens de Graaf – Barentskrans

Mr. Andre Chidiac and Ms. Amal Haddad