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Nissan's Ghosn crisis

Ghosn's lawyer sorry for planning workman disguise

Plan to cheat the media ended in failure

Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn left the Tokyo Detention House wearing blue cap and white mask on Mar. 6.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A lawyer for former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn apologized Friday for attempting to disguise him as a workman in a move that backfired and made international headlines when Ghosn was released on bail two days ago, saying he had embarrassed his client.

"I have tarnished Mr. Ghosn's reputation and I am sorry for it," lawyer Takashi Takano said on his blog. He was present when the 64-year-old left the Tokyo Detention House in a workman's outfit with a reflective vest and wearing a face mask.

Takano said he came up with the idea as he did not want the media to know where Ghosn was going to stay after his release on bail Wednesday, thinking his everyday life and health would be impacted.

He admitted his plan had ended in failure since the media immediately recognized Ghosn despite his attire, but said his client had managed to be reunited with his family at his residence.

On Friday evening, Ghosn left an apartment building wearing a black jumper, cap and sunglasses. He ignored the press' requests for comments as he got into a car.

The former auto titan is looking forward to the press conference he will hold next week or later, Junichiro Hironaka, another defense lawyer for Ghosn, told reporters Friday.

Ghosn was arrested over alleged financial misconduct but has denied the charges. He had been detained for 108 days since Nov. 19 and was released on 1 billion yen ($9 million) bail after his third request to the court for release on bail.

His release is conditional on restrictions that address apparent concerns that he could tamper with evidence. They include surveillance cameras at the entry to his residence, and restriction of his computer use to weekdays at his lawyer's office with no access to the internet. His cell phone use is also limited.

"The restrictions would not be effective in preventing evidence tampering," said Shin Kukimoto, deputy public prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, at a press conference Friday.

"We want to do what is necessary properly," he added, but declined to comment on a possible rearrest or additional charges.

The court, prosecutors and defense lawyers held a meeting in the Tokyo District Court the same day to prepare for Ghosn's trial. Prosecutors may reveal evidence in their possession by their next meeting on May 20, said Hironaka.

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