Embattled former Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, said the $1 billion lawsuit he filed against the Renault-Nissan automaker is just an intro to a bigger fight. The 69-year-old business executive who is a citizen of France, Brazil, and Lebanon said he would have asked for a much higher amount if he were an American filing the lawsuit from inside the United States.
Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November 2018 after leading Nissan for 20 years. He was arrested for breach of company trust, misusing company property, and violating securities laws by failing to fully disclose his compensation. Being wanted in France for alleged money laundering and tax evasion among other charges, Ghosn escaped from Japan in December 2019 and fled to Lebanon.
His escape from Japan brought great embarrassment to the authorities. He jumped a $14 million bail and escaped by hiding inside a box in the hold of a private jet headed for Turkey. Given that Lebanon does not extradite its citizens and has no extradition treaty with Japan, Ghosn remains secured in the country as a Lebanese citizen.
Interpol has not been able to extradite Ghosn from Lebanon despite three major attempts. The former Nissan CEO said he was barred from speaking with his wife and family when he was held in Japan. He said he fled the country because there was no way he could get justice in Japan or in France.
Asked why he is instituting a lawsuit three years after escaping to Lebanon, he said he took his time because he wanted to win his case. According to him, he said he needed to marshal enough witnesses, evidence, and major facts before launching his war. He emphasized that “our intention is to win it, so in order to win it; it has to be substantiated by a lot of facts. That’s why it took a lot of time.”
His case is set for September 18 in Lebanon.
He revealed that the $1 billion he is seeking from Nissan is for damages and compensation that covers salary, retirement funds, and stock options. He also wants payments from a company in Lebanon that is affiliated with Nissan, and also from persons that raided his home to seize important documents and computers.
Ghosn disclosed that whether he wins his fight against Nissan or not, this lawsuit is just “the beginning of the fight” against the Japanese auto giant.