Ghosn’s legal problems deepen as Nissan sues him for $95 million

by SpeedLux
Carlos Ghosn in Lebanon

Former Nissan Motor CEO Carlos Ghosn’s legal problems deepened on Friday with the beginning of a civil trial in Yokohama, Japan, where the automaker is seeking 10 billion yen ($95 million) in damages.

“The legal actions initiated today form part of Nissan’s policy of holding Ghosn accountable for the harm and financial losses incurred by the company because of (his) misconduct,” the automaker said.

Ghosn, who also operated French automaker Renault SA, fled to Lebanon in 2019 from Japan before he was due to stand trial. He rejects any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors, who arrested Ghosn two years ago, have alleged him of hiding 9.3 billion yen ($88.6 million) in compensation, and allegedly enriching himself at Nissan’s expense through $5 million payments to a Middle East car dealership and temporarily moving personal financial losses to the automaker’s books.

“Nissan civil lawsuit is an extension to the extremely unreasonable internal investigation with sinister intent by a portion of Nissan’s senior management and the unreasonable arrests and indictments by the public prosecutors,” Ghosn wrote in an emailed statement.

Ghosn was represented in the Yokohama court by lawyers.

The civil proceeding got underway as the criminal trial of former Nissan executive Greg Kelly, who is alleged of helping Ghosn hide his revenues, continued at a court in Tokyo.

Kelly, who has lived in Japan since his release on bail nearly two years ago, also rejects any wrongdoing. Nissan, which is also a defendant in that trial, has pleaded guilty. If they are found guilty, Kelly could face up to ten years in prison and a 10 million yen fine. The conviction rate in Japan stands at around 99%.

The automaker is drawing back from the business expansion undertaken under Ghosn. On Thursday, it reduced its full-year operating loss forecast as the recovery in auto demand has helped increase sales.

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