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Detained ex-Nissan chief's lawyer says Tokyo prosecutors not impartial

PARIS : The French lawyer of former auto titan Carlos Ghosn, currently under house arrest in Tokyo, has attacked Japanese prosecutors for an alleged lack of impartiality and questioned how his client can receive a fair trial.

The former chief of both Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan is awaiting trial in Japan on charges of financial misconduct.

He was kept behind bars for over 100 days before being granted bail and sacked from all his management roles.

"It is time to condemn the human rights violations of which the Tokyo prosecutor is guilty," Mr Francois Zimeray, wrote in France's Journal du Dimanche, adding that there had been "serious breaches of the duty of impartiality such as staggering collusion with Nissan and the political authorities".

"Everything seems to be permissible for the Japanese prosecutor for whom the game is as much not to lose face as to sabotage the French influence on Nissan by protecting its current management with whom he has reached a secret deal," Mr Zimeray charged.

Ghosn is accused of under-reporting millions of dollars in income at Nissan and of using company funds for personal expenses - charges he denies.

Mr Zimeray said that "everything had been done to establish Carlos Ghosn's guilt before his trial", including through the leaking of information to the media, the source of which was clearly "the Tokyo prosecutor".

He called Ghosn's treatment "discriminatory" and said such "extreme harassment" compromised the possibility of a fair trial.

The 65-year-old Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November as he stepped off his private jet at Tokyo airport. - AFP

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