Auto tycoon Ghosn files $1 billion lawsuit in Lebanon against Nissan over his imprisonment in Japan

BEIRUT — Auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Nissan and about a dozen individuals in Beirut over his imprisonment in Japan and what he says is misinformation spread against him, Lebanese officials said today.

According to the officials, Ghosn’s lawsuit accuses Nissan and the individuals of defamation and of “fabricating charges” against him, which eventually put him behind bars in Japan.

The lawsuit was filed last month, the judicial officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the case. The officials did not identify the individuals that Ghosn is accusing.

Ghosn 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.

According to Judge Sabbouh Suleiman, who is at the Beirut’s prosecutor’s office, a hearing date in the case was set for September.

The judicial officials who spoke to The Associated Press said that Nissan and the accused individuals are expected to send representatives to Beirut or name a Lebanese lawyer to represent them.

The 69-year-old Ghosn, who for two decades was the head of Nissan and Renault, has repeatedly said he is innocent. In December 2019, he jumped bail in Japan in a daring escape by hiding in a box spirited aboard a private jet out of the country.

Prosecutors in Japan have charged three Americans with helping Ghosn escape the country.

He now lives in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan and does not extradite its citizens. Renault and Nissan have both been distancing themselves from the Ghosn scandal. Ghosn has citizenship in Lebanon, France and Brazil.

Lebanon has received three notices from Interpol based on arrest warrants in Japan and France for Ghosn. 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.