Nissan seeking billions in damages from fugitive former chairman Carlos Ghosn

Time 2:12 pm, February 12, 2020

NISSAN has filed a civil suit seeking 10 billion yen in damages from the Japanese carmaker’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn.

It filed the case in Yokohama District Court to recoup some of the monetary damages suffered, it said, ‘as a result of years of misconduct and fraudulent activity’ by Ghosn.

The claim, which equates to roughly £70.2m, was calculated by adding the costs from what Nissan called Ghosn’s ‘corrupt practices’, such as rent for overseas property, use of corporate jets and payments to his sister, as well as costs for the internal investigation into his alleged wrongdoings.

Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades and saved it from near-bankruptcy, was arrested in Japan in November 2018, and charged with under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for personal gain.

He was awaiting trial but skipped bail in December, showing up in Lebanon late last year. Japan has no extradition treaty with Lebanon, and he is unlikely to be arrested.

A date had not been set for his trial, and Ghosn has said he was worried his ordeal would never end and he wouldn’t get a fair hearing.

Carlos Ghosn

Japanese authorities recently issued an arrest warrant for Ghosn and three Americans accused of helping his escape.

Separately, they issued an arrest warrant for Ghosn’s wife, Carole, on suspicion of perjury.

Ghosn has repeatedly said he is innocent, saying that the promised compensation had never been decided, and all the payments were for legitimate services.

Today’s lawsuit by Nissan comes on top of the civil case Nissan filed against Ghosn in the British Virgin Islands in August last year.

It alleged unauthorised payments, sought to regain a luxury yacht, and pursued other damages, according to Nissan.

Yokohama-based Nissan, which reports its financial results tomorrow, is itself facing trial in Japan as a company in relation to Ghosn’s scandal. It has indicated it will agree to any penalties.

Ghosn’s successor, Hiroto Saikawa, tendered his resignation in September after acknowledging he had received dubious income. He said he did not know about the money, and hasn’t been charged.

Also in question is Nissan’s relationship with alliance partner Renault SA of France, the top shareholder in Nissan. Ghosn, sent in by Renault to lead Nissan, has said his arrest was set off by a conspiracy against him at Nissan.

MORE: Arrest warrant issued for fugitive Ghosn

MORE: My detention was a travesty, Carlos Ghosn tells news conference

MORE: Carlos Ghosn’s Tokyo home raided after flight from justice

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