Nissan seeks £70m damages from ex chair Ghosn

Nissan has filed a civil lawsuit against former chairman Carlos Ghosn seeking JPY10bn (£70m) in restitution for monetary damages resulting from what the Japanese car manufacturer called ‘years of his misconduct and fraudulent activity’

According to the suit, filed at Yokohama District Court, Kanagawa, Japan, the financial damages claimed by Nissan are linked to Ghosn’s alleged breach of fiduciary duty as a company director and his alleged misappropriation of Nissan’s resources and assets.

The company says 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.

The initial claim for damages relates to costs which Nissan says it incurred due to Ghosn’s ‘corrupt practices over many years’ in spending on items which were not authorised.

This includes the use of overseas residential property without paying rent, private use of corporate jets, payments to his sister, and payments to his personal lawyer in Lebanon, amongst other costs.  The company is also seeking redress for legal and regulatory costs incurred in Japan, the US, the Netherlands and other territories.

The new claims are in addition to an ongoing civil lawsuit Nissan initiated against Ghosn in the British Virgin Islands in August 2019, where unauthorised payments and transactions were processed through special purpose entities, seeking the title of a luxury yacht and/or damages and other relief.

Nissan’s move follows Ghosn’s flight from Japan, where he had been held under house arrest, at the end of last year. Ghosn was smuggled out on a private jet to Lebanon, in violation of his bail conditions. 

Ghosn has consistently denied all charges of financial misconduct against him, and has said in a press conference while in Lebanon that he was the victim of ‘injustice and political persecution’.

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