Bad Breakup: Nissan Hits Former Boss With $90 Million Lawsuit
Jeez, it’s a good thing they didn’t have kids.
Nissan has responded to former chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japanese captivity — and subsequent doubling down on his accusations of a corporate coup orchestrated by Nissan execs, with the help of Japanese officials — by filing a lawsuit.
As it attempts to free up cash elsewhere in the company, the struggling automaker is seeking to recoup losses from Ghosn’s alleged financial impropriety.
The civil suit filed in Yokohama District Court Wednesday seeks to recover financial damages “linked to Ghosn’s breach of fiduciary duty as a company director and his misappropriation of Nissan’s resources and assets,” Nissan said in a statement.
“The size of the damages claim is expected to increase in future as Nissan seeks to recover fines to be paid to the Japanese Financial Services Agency and likely penalties imposed on the company in criminal proceedings related to Ghosn’s misconduct.”
Nissan’s official release doesn’t hold back, claiming the company’s former boss engaged in “corrupt practices over many years.”
According to Nissan, the company is looking to collect:
- 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
The latest lawsuit adds to one filed in the British Virgin Islands last year, in which Nissan sought to recoup damages “where unauthorized payments and transactions were processed through special purpose entities, seeking the title of a luxury yacht and/or damages and other relief.”
After his daring escape from Japan in late December, where he was being held under house arrest awaiting trial, Ghosn set up shop in extradition treaty-free Lebanon. There, he called a press conference in which he railed against his former company.
That candid exchange clearly rankled Nissan brass, who claim they reserve “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.”
The lawsuit comes a day ahead of what’s expected to be a terrible earnings report for the automaker. Citing sources, Reuters claims Nissan will announce its first quarterly loss since the depths of the Great Recession.
Of course, this timing was not lost on Team Ghosn.
As reported by The Guardian, a spokesperson for the fugitive stated, “Nissan’s manoeuvres continue. This complaint is made public on the eve of the Japanese group’s financial results. We note that after months of announcing damages of ¥35bn, Nissan is now claiming ¥10bn at the moment.”
The spokesperson added, “Mr Ghosn’s lawyers will react on the merits of the case once the content of the claim has been brought to their attention.”
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