The former Renault-Nissan Alliance chairman, Carlos Ghosn, has fired back at his former employer with a lawsuit.
According to The Financial Times (subscription required) in a report last Thursday, Ghosn is suing Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors in The Netherlands. A joint venture called Nissan-Mitsubishi BV (NMBV) employed Ghosn as chairman when the Renault-Nissan alliance created the entity in 2017. The Renault-Nissan alliance acquired a controlling stake in Mitsubishi in 2016.
Details provided in the report claim Ghosn is suing over improper termination from the joint venture for $16.73 million at current exchange rates. The joint venture, set up in the Netherlands, follows a certain dismissal process under Dutch law. Ghosn and his lawyers assert Nissan and Mitsubishi did not follow protocol in terminating the executive. Allegedly, the entity did not provide any evidence surrounding allegations of taking payments from NMBV. The payments were made between April and November of 2018 and an internal investigation did not find the reason why Ghosn used NMBV to receive funds. Ghosn filed the lawsuit in late June.
The payments were supposedly in exchange for Ghosn heading up the joint venture as managing director. The investigation reportedly did find the entire process was invalid because an unauthorized Nissan official signed off on the agreement. Other Mitsubishi board members were not involved in the payments for Ghosn's employment, per the report.
Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi have so far not shared evidence of Ghosn's alleged crimes with Ghosn, and this new lawsuit is part of a legal strategy to change that. While the lawsuit has nothing to do with the financial crimes Ghosn is accused of committing, his team hopes to gain access to any documents Nissan and Mitsubishi may have compiled. Additionally, the court challenge may compel Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan CEO, and Mitsubishi chairman Osamu Masuko to testify in a Dutch court.
Ghosn is currently out of jail on bail in Tokyo. He's accused of misreporting income to financial regulators, transferring personal losses onto Nissan's corporate books, and most recently, transferring corporate funds for his own personal use. Ghosn vehemently denies all charges.