Nissan has filed a civil lawsuit against its former chairman Carlos Ghosn, who jumped bail in Japan while fighting charges of financial misconduct.

The suit, filed at Yokohama District Court, Kanagawa, Japan, seeks an initial amount of JPY 10 billion (USD90m) in order to ‘recover a significant part of the monetary damages inflicted on the company by its former chairman as a result of years of his misconduct and fraudulent activity’.

The company said the 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.

It also said 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.

A spokesman for Ghosn said in response to the lawsuit: “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 35 billion yen, Nissan is now claiming 10 at the moment.”

Nissan said the claim for damages has been calculated on the basis of costs incurred by Nissan due to Ghosn and his corrupt practices over many years, including:

  • funds linked to fraudulent payments made to or by Ghosn, 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 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 on August 30, 2019, where unauthorized payments and transactions were processed through special purpose entities, seeking the title of a luxury yacht and/or damages and other relief.

Nissan also said it 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 at the end of last year.