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12.02.2020 Europe

Nissan seeks millions in damages from ex-boss Ghosn, alleging misconduct

By RFI
Mohamed Azakir/Reuters
LISTEN FEB 12, 2020
Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

The Japanese car giant Nissan has filed a civil lawsuit against its former chairman Carlos Ghosn to reclaim some 10 billion yen (83 million euros) for what it says are "years of his misconduct and fraudulent activity."

Ghosn, who headed Nissan for two decades and saved it from near-bankruptcy, faces multiple charges of financial misconduct in Japan, including under-reporting his remuneration. He denies any wrongdoing, and fled to Lebanon to avoid facing trial by the Japanese justice system.

In the lawsuit filed in the Yokohama district court on Wednesday, Nissan said it is asking for damages "linked to Ghosn's breach of fiduciary duty as a company director and his misappropriation of Nissan's resources and assets."

In a statement about the lawsuit, Nissan called Ghosn's practices “corrupt”, alleging that he had used company property "without paying rent", had made private use of corporate jets, and made "payments to his sister, payments to his personal lawyer in Lebanon."

The fines continue to pile up
The amount also includes costs related to the investigation against Ghosn with the company indicating the amount was likely to rise, given the fines it faces.

Nissan has already agreed to pay a 2.4 billion yen (19.98 million euro) fine to the Japanese financial services agency for having hidden payments to Ghosn in its annual reports.

The company said it could also sue Ghosn for "groundless and defamatory remarks" he made when he briefed the media in Lebanon.

Ghosn alleges he is the target of a cabal of executives

It said it intensified its campaign to recover damages after he fled Japan while out on bail. Ghosn spent more than 100 days in detention in Japan after his arrest in November 2018, and made a daring escape to Lebanon, where he holds nationality.

Ghosn has sued Nissan and Mitsubishi for 15 million euros, for illegally breaking his contract. The suit was filed in the Netherlands, and the first hearing was held Monday.

He believes Nissan turned on him because executives there were concerned he was moving the firm closer to French partner Renault, part of a three-way alliance with Mitsubishi Motors.

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