Carlos Ghosn sues Nissan for $1 billion, over finances and reputation


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The lawsuit also makes claims against at least a dozen people, including:

  • Hari Nada, a Nissan employee seen as one of the key instigators of the plot to oust Ghosn
  • Hidetoshi Imazu and Hitoshi Kawaguchi, two senior Nissan managers with early involvement in Nissan’s actions against Ghosn
  • Toshiaki Onuma, a manager in the CEO’s office, who along with Nada, agreed to cooperate with Japanese prosecutors to avoid prosecution
  • Masakazu Toyoda and Motoo Nagai, two Nissan board members

A representative for Nissan said the company has not yet received the lawsuit or is aware of it, and therefore cannot comment or make anyone available for comment on Ghosn’s claims.

The lawsuit includes other individuals and entities, which have not yet been served, according to Ghosn’s legal representative. Lebanon’s public prosecutor has set a hearing for September. Authorities in Lebanon can request cooperation from their Japanese counterparts to investigate Ghosn’s assertions.

It’s not clear whether Japan’s judicial system, which Ghosn has said is “rigged” and “violates the most basic principles of humanity,” would be willing to cooperate with authorities in Lebanon, which does not extradite its citizens.

In 2020, a UN panel found that Ghosn’s detention in a Japanese jail for more than 100 days was neither necessary nor reasonable and violated his rights. The decision to arrest Ghosn four times in a row so as to extend his detention was “fundamentally unfair,” according to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The 18-page claim includes Ghosn’s plan to bring Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors under a grand alliance with Fiat Chrysler, which he says fueled concerns within Nissan in early 2018 that he was seeking to make the partnership irreversible.

Nada and others then laid the groundwork to have Ghosn arrested in order to remove him from Nissan and the alliance, according to the former executive.

Ghosn also described his intentions for taking a voluntary pay cut in 2011 after new disclosure rules in Japan triggered efforts to find legal means to retain and pay him during retirement. Those plans eventually became the basis for the arrest of Ghosn and Greg Kelly, a former Nissan director who was involved in the salary discussions. A trial verdict last year exonerated Kelly of most charges and imposed a fine on Nissan.

VW, Ford, GM job offers

Ghosn described how he received job offers from Volkswagen Group, Ford and a more lucrative salary to join General Motors but decided to stay with the alliance following the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

He said the efforts within Nissan to find ways to compensate and keep him were criminalized because that was the only “means found by the conspirators to get rid of him as the chairman of the board of directors.”

Nada and others then waged a “defamation campaign to tarnish his image,” Ghosn asserts in the lawsuit. The claim also details the involvement of the Japanese and French governments, the purge of certain people from Nissan following Ghosn’s arrest, issues with the company’s internal investigation into the matter and damage done to shareholders as a result of the actions.

In a way, the lawsuit is the crystallization of Ghosn’s efforts to clear his name following his arrival in Lebanon, where in early 2020 he held an epic news conference denouncing his arrest. Ghosn spent part of his childhood in the country and lives in a house that was bought and restored by Nissan, which he had planned to buy from the company upon retirement.

“They cannot plot a lie and cheat and get away with it,” Ghosn said by telephone from Beirut. “This is just a small response to the damage they created. I do not think they can right the wrong, because the damage is so deep — this is intended to repair part of the damage that has been done.”

Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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