Carlos Ghosn lashes out at US law firm after escape from Japan

Latham & Watkins served as longtime outside counsel for Nissan

Carlos Ghosn, in his first public appearance since his arrest in Japan a year ago, lambasted those he accused of being responsible for his eventual prosecution in Tokyo, including former Nissan executives, government officials and Latham & Watkins, one of the world’s largest legal firms.

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“It is the prosecutors aided and abetted by petty and vindictive individuals in the government and Nissan and the L&W law firm who are destroying Japan’s reputation on the global stage,” Ghosn said at a news conference in Lebanon, more than a week after his stunning escape from Japan

The U.S.-based Latham & Watkins, longtime outside counsel for Nissan, conducted the Japanese automaker’s internal investigation into alleged wrongdoing by the former chairman and chief executive officer.

Representatives for Latham & Watkins did not respond to a request for comment.

GHOSN SMUGGLED OUT OF JAPAN IN A BOX LOADED ONTO PRIVATE JET

Nissan general counsel Ravinder Passi previously criticized Latham & Watkins, raising concerns that the probe was marred by conflicts of interest, the Wall Street Journal reported in September.

Latham & Watkins, which employs more than 2,600 lawyers across the world, was hired last year to advise drugmaker Mallinckrodt Plc., which was facing lawsuits related to the opioid crisis, according to Bloomberg.

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The embattled former auto chief was first arrested in Japan more than a year ago and had been awaiting trial there on charges of financial wrongdoing, including allegedly under-reporting his future compensation. Ghosn has repeatedly asserted his innocence.

“I was brutally taken from my world as I knew it,” Ghosn told reporters. “I was ripped from my family, my friends, from my communities, and from Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.”

He secretly fled last month from what he called a rigged justice system in Tokyo for Lebanon, which does not have an extradition treaty with Japan. The Japanese government has asked Lebanon to cooperate in investigating his escape, which took place when he was free on bail awaiting trial. Japan boasts one of the world's highest conviction rates, above 99 percent once suspects are charged.

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