Nissan sued its fugitive former boss Carlos Ghosn on Wednesday in a bid to recoup at least $90 million in damages for his alleged financial misdeeds.
The money the Japanese auto giant is seeking in the lawsuit, filed in Japan’s Yokohama District Court, stems from Ghosn’s years of “misconduct and fraudulent activity” — including his misappropriation of Nissan’s assets and the breach of his fiduciary duty, the company said in a news release.
The suit comes about six weeks after Ghosn, 65, skipped bail and made a cinematic escape to Lebanon from Japan, where he was facing financial-crime charges stemming from his tenure at Nissan, where he served as chairman and CEO. He has denied wrongdoing.
Nissan said it calculated its claim of 10 billion yen is based in part on Ghosn’s rent-free stays in an overseas property, his private use of corporate jets, and payments he made to his sister and his personal lawyer in Lebanon.
The figure — which the company expects to increase — also factors in costs tied to Nissan’s internal investigation of Ghosn’s alleged malfeasance and legal and regulatory costs the company has incurred in the US, Japan, the Netherlands and elsewhere, according to the news release.
Nissan said it may take separate legal action against Ghosn over his “groundless and defamatory remarks” about the company following his escape to Beirut. He held a news conference there in January in which he accused Nissan and Japanese authorities of running a “smear campaign” against him.
Ghosn alleged that Nissan execs ginned up the criminal charges against him because they were afraid the company would come under the control of Renault, the French automaker that he also led.
“Some of our Japanese friends thought the only way to get rid of the influence of Renault on Nissan is to get rid of me,” Ghosn said last month.
Nissan sued Ghosn a day before it’s slated to brief investors on its financial performance for the fourth quarter of last year. The company may report its first quarterly loss since March 2009 amid flopping sales, Reuters reported Wednesday.