Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Japanese prosecutors raided the office of a local attorney who once represented Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan chairman-turned-fugitive on Wednesday, according to multiple press reports.
Ghosn, who fled Japan by private jet in December, faces charges of financial misconduct during his two decades at Nissan. NHK and other press services reported Tokyo prosecutors raided the office of Ghosn's defense attorney Junichiro Hironaka, citing Hironaka's alleged right to refuse seizure based on criminal procedure law.
Hironaka resigned on Jan. 16 following Ghosn's escape on Dec. 29, Kyodo News reported. Ghosn, who is in Lebanon, may have received assistance from a former U.S. Green Beret, and could have evaded detection in a musical instrument case, according to local press reports.
On Wednesday, Japanese prosecutors searched for and seized documents that could be related to Ghosn's escape from Japan. Prosecutors allege Ghosn left Japan using "illegal means" and are investigating him for violating Japanese immigration law.
Hironaka may also be under investigation on suspicion of abetting Ghosn's escape. Prosecutors previously attempted to seize documents on Jan. 8, but were turned away.
Defense lawyers for Ghosn have said it is "unlikely" he will return to Japan voluntarily.
Ghosn escaped authorities despite being under surveillance.
The former Nissan executive had said in a statement after his escape that he will "no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied."
Japanese prosecutors also have an arrest warrant for Carole Ghosn, his wife, for alleged perjury during a court appearance in 2019.
Carole Ghosn has said her husband was subject to harsh rights abuses.
"They have a 99 percent conviction rate," she said in an interview with UPI in 2019.