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Former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn said he had filed a $1bn lawsuit against the Japanese carmaker to ensure that those he held responsible for his 2018 ousting would not be “able to sleep quietly in their bed”.
Ghosn recently filed a claim with the public prosecutor in Lebanon, where he has lived since his dramatic escape from Japan in a musical equipment box in late 2019.
His lawsuit alleges defamation, slander, libel and “the fabrication of material evidence” by Nissan and about a dozen individuals. The Japanese carmaker has declined to comment on the suit.
“What I’m looking for is not revenge but I’m just trying to have a part of my rights back,” Ghosn said during an online news conference on Tuesday. “I just want to make sure that all . . . the plotters cannot sleep quietly in their bed after what they have committed.”
Once feted in Japan for rescuing Nissan from collapse after he took over as president in 2000, Ghosn was arrested in November 2018 on a series of financial misconduct charges.
He has consistently denied those charges, arguing that his spectacular downfall was the result of a plot orchestrated by an old guard within the company whose influence he had been unable to fully eradicate.
“Nissan created a lot of damage for me — damage that cannot be repaired. The only thing I can obtain is a small compensation for the damage,” Ghosn said.
More than three years after his escape Ghosn, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, said he did not regret fleeing Japan despite his once flamboyant lifestyle being restricted.
Interpol issued a “wanted” notice for Ghosn in 2020 at the request of Japanese investigators. French prosecutors last year also issued an arrest warrant for the former Renault chair and chief executive.
“Frankly, the justice system in Lebanon is equivalent to the justice system in Japan,” Ghosn said. “They will decide if I’m right or not.”
He also projected that the partnership he oversaw between the Japanese group and France’s Renault for nearly decades would shrink into “a mini alliance”.
Nissan has been shaken by a bitter clash within its top leadership that led to the exit of one of the strongest opponents of the terms under which the Japanese group is seeking to rebalance its capital tie-up with Renault.
“With the latest agreement, they’re trying to go for a mini alliance with a very reduced scope of co-operation,” Ghosn said.