Lawyer sorry for 'tainting' Ghosn's fame with workman disguise

Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves from his residence in Tokyo

Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves from his residence in Tokyo

Step ladders placed by photographers and cameramen are seen in front of Tokyo Detention Center, where former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn was detained, March 6, 2019, in Tokyo.

Shin Kukimoto, deputy public prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, was speaking to reporters on Thursday, a day after Ghosn was released on 1 billion yen ($9 million) bail from the Tokyo jail where he had been held for more than 100 days in a small cell with no heating. While Ghosn was said to be relieved to be released, he initially called the bail terms "somewhat disgusting" and had to be convinced by lawyers to accept the strict terms of near house arrest. Under the conditions of the bail, he is not allowed to leave Japan and will also be under heavy surveillance.

Another lawyer said he has spoken with prosecutors and court officials about Ghosn's trial.

Takano asked the media to respect Ghosn's privacy.

Ghosn was photographed leaving in a white hospital mask, a blue cap worn by electricians, a mismatching uniform jacket, and pants with orange reflective stripes typically worn by construction workers. Ghosn is facing a number of criminal charges from his time at the automaker.

Lawyer Takashi Takano said the freakish get-up was a bid to protect Ghosn's privacy, and particularly to avoid media tracking him to the residence where he will live while out on bail.

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Ghosn has maintained his innocence since his arrest and claimed the allegations against him are part of a "plot" by opponents of greater integration between the three firms. "I feel sorry about that".

His disguise was roundly mocked by the media, with one Japanese TV station even re-enacting the incident complete with a man in a lookalike outfit, and a similar van to the one Mr Ghosn used.

"My immature plan, as a result, has tarnished the reputation that he has devoted his whole life to build", Takano said of his client.

He said the disguise was an attempt to ensure his client could be released without being noticed and taken to a secret location so he could "get back into a normal social life" with his family, who had come to Japan. "We definitely needed to avoid such a situation". On the day of his release, Ghosn was widely filmed and photographed in the freaky disguise, including as he got into a minivan complete with a workman's ladder.

The eclectic outfit was suggested by Ghosn's defense team as a way of throwing the media off from following his van to his Tokyo hideout.

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