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Ghosn says USD1 billion lawsuit against Nissan reasonable

BEIRUT (AP) – Carlos Ghosn said on Friday that the USD1 billion lawsuit he recently filed against Nissan and others is just the beginning of his fight.

The former Nissan CEO said during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut that had he been an American citizen filing a lawsuit in the United States (US), “I would not be asking for USD1 billion, but for much more,” given his suffering.

Ghosn led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy, before he was arrested in Japan in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, misusing company assets for personal gains and violating securities laws by not fully disclosing his compensation.

He fled Japan in December 2019 for Lebanon where he has lived since.

Ghosn is wanted in Japan and France. Since he fled to Lebanon, Beirut has received three notices from Interpol based on arrest warrants for him from those countries. In France, he is facing a number of legal challenges, including tax evasion and alleged money laundering, fraud and misuse of company assets while at the helm of the Renault-Nissan alliance.

Former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn. PHOTO: AP

Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan and does not extradite its citizens.

Ghosn has French, Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship.

Ghosn was kept in solitary confinement in Japan for months without being allowed to speak with his wife. He has said he fled the country fearing he would have no chance of a fair trial.

Ghosn said it took him more than three years to file the lawsuit because he wanted it to be as solid as possible based on evidence, on facts, (and) on witnesses.” He added 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.”

A hearing date in the case by Lebanon’s prosecution is set for September 18.

Half of the money sought by the 69-year-old Ghosn is for damages, he said, while the other half is for compensation including salary, retirement funds and stock options.