Ghosn sued for damages by Nissan following escape

12 February 2020

12 February 2020

Nissan is to sue former chairman Carlos Ghosn to recoup losses that it alleges stem from his misuse of the company’s funds.

The carmaker is looking for $90 million (€82 million) from the Brazilian, filing a civil lawsuit with the district court of Yokohama this week. Nissan said it is choosing this route following Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Lebanon, meaning he will not undergo a criminal trial in Tokyo.

Intensified battle

The civil suit, which seeks to recover damages inflicted by Mr Ghosn through what Nissan described as ″years of misconduct and fraudulent activity″, adds to a list of legal battles fought between Nissan and its former boss in various jurisdictions around the world.

′The financial damages claimed by Nissan are linked to Ghosn’s breach of fiduciary duty as a company director and his misappropriation of Nissan’s resources and assets,’ the manufacturer said. ′The size of the damages claim is expected to increase in future as Nissan seeks to recover fines due to the Japanese Financial Services Agency and likely penalties imposed on the company in criminal proceedings related to Ghosn’s misconduct.’

Gross misconduct

The size of the claim is calculated on the bases of costs incurred by Nissan due to Ghosn’s alleged corrupt practices over a number of years, including:

  • Funds linked to fraudulent payments made to or by Ghosn as outlined in Nissan’s statement of September 9, 2019, including the use of overseas residential property without paying rent, private use of corporate jets, payments to his sister, payments to his personal lawyer in Lebanon, etc.
  • Resources and costs related to Nissan’s internal investigation into Ghosn and his misconduct
  • Legal and regulatory costs incurred in Japan, the U.S., the Netherlands and other territories

′Nissan also reserves the right to pursue separate legal action over groundless and defamatory remarks made by Ghosn in comments to the media following his escape to Lebanon in violation of his bail conditions in Japan,’ its statement finished, relating to the press conference held by the Brazilian following his arrival in Lebanon.

The company has also begun what it expects to be a drawn-out eviction battle with the Ghosn family over their continued occupancy of a property in central Beirut that Nissan bought, through a subsidiary, for around $8.8 million (€8 million) during Mr Ghosn’s reign. Earlier this week, lawyers for Nissan and Mr Ghosn faced off in new proceedings in a Dutch court, where the carmaker is defending itself in a €15 million unfair-dismissal suit relating to his abrupt removal in 2018 as the head of NMBV, a joint venture between Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors.