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In the three years since Carlos Ghosn was detained on a Tokyo airport tarmac, much has emerged about how forces within Nissan Motor Co. worked to remove him. Yet a key group has avoided close scrutiny of their role in the once-powerful car executive’s downfall: the lawyers.

A small clutch of attorneys from Latham & Watkins LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms, advised Nissan for years on how to compensate its then chairman and CEO. That included the remuneration package that would become the basis of the first charges against Ghosn, for concealing the full extent of his income. Then, as Ghosn’s pay became the subject of a criminal investigation in 2018, Latham & Watkins was enlisted to investigate his alleged wrongdoing, despite warnings to Nissan’s board that it posed a serious conflict of interest.

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