Lawyer sorry for ‘tainting’ Ghosn’s fame with workman disguise

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, in blue cap, walks out with security guards from Tokyo Detention Center in Tokyo. (AP/Eugene Hoshiko)
Updated 08 March 2019
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Lawyer sorry for ‘tainting’ Ghosn’s fame with workman disguise

  • Lawyer Takashi Takano said the bizarre get-up was a bid to protect Ghosn’s privacy
  • Takano acknowledged the plan backfired, with the world’s media instead snapping photos and filming video of Ghosn, transformed from his previously suave executive image

TOKYO: A lawyer representing ex-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn on Friday apologized for “tainting” the tycoon’s reputation by suggesting he disguise himself as a workman to leave detention on bail.
Ghosn sparked confusion and some derision by walking out of a Tokyo jail on Wednesday after more than 100 days in custody, sporting a blue construction worker’s jacket, a light blue cap and a facemask.
Lawyer Takashi Takano said the bizarre 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.
But Takano acknowledged the plan backfired, with the world’s media instead snapping photos and filming video of Ghosn, transformed from his previously suave executive image.
“The disguise was all planned and carried out by me,” Takano wrote in a blog article posted Friday.
“Due to my amateur plan, the fame he has built over a lifetime was tainted.”
“I caused tangible and intangible damage to many people. I feel sorry about that,” he added.
Takano said his only goal had been to prevent the media from locating Ghosn’s residence.
“Not only would he not be able to have his life back but also his health would be damaged,” if the home was located, Takano said.
“The life of his family and his neighbors would be threatened. We definitely needed to avoid such situation.”
In the event, not only was Ghosn widely filmed and photographed in the bizarre disguise, including as he got into a silver minivan complete with a workman’s ladder, but media in helicopters and on motorbikes tracked the vehicle around Tokyo.
He was initially taken to Takano’s office, but was later able to leave and the exact location of his Tokyo residence remains unclear.
The day after Ghosn’s release, Japanese media devoted news programs to dissecting Ghosn’s disguise, with some stations even dressing up doubles in similar garb to discuss the outfit.
Ghosn’s release was the latest twist in a saga that has gripped the business world in Japan and beyond since his November 19 arrest.
Ghosn, who faces three charges of financial misconduct, must adhere to strict conditions in addition to the nearly $9 million he paid in bail.
He must stay in a residence in Tokyo designated by the court, with a surveillance camera installed at the door. Footage from the camera must be submitted to the court periodically.
He can only use a computer at his lawyer’s office and will not be able to access the Internet.
Takano said Ghosn’s bail will be canceled if any of the rules are violated and “he would have to return to the tough life in custody.”


Twitter triples first-quarter profit to $191 million

Updated 56 min 56 sec ago
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Twitter triples first-quarter profit to $191 million

  • Profits in the first quarter hit $191 million, compared with $61 million a year earlier
  • The longstanding metric of monthly active users was 330 million in the January-March period

WASHINGTON: Twitter said Tuesday its profits tripled in the past quarter even as it ramped up efforts to root out abuse and misconduct on its short messaging platform.
Profits in the first quarter hit $191 million, compared with $61 million a year earlier, while revenues increased 18 percent to $787 million.
Twitter’s global user base appeared to show modest growth even as the company transitions to a different way of measuring it.
The longstanding metric of monthly active users was 330 million in the January-March period, an increase of nine million from the past quarter but down slightly from a year ago.
But Twitter no longer will use that measure, switching instead to “monetizable” daily active users — 134 million in the past quarter, up from 120 million last year.
Chief executive Jack Dorsey said Twitter is benefiting from its moves to root out abusive and inauthentic content that had hurt Twitter’s reputation.
“We are taking a more proactive approach to reducing abuse and its effects on Twitter,” said Dorsey.
“We are reducing the burden on victims and, where possible, taking action before abuse is reported.”
He added that Twitter aims to become “more conversational” and has launched a prototype for a new app called “twttr,” with the goal of “making conversation on Twitter feel faster, more fluid and more fun.”