Carlos Ghosn, the former chairman of Nissan, is said to have sued the automaker for more than $1 billion.
The filing marks Mr. Ghosn’s latest effort to clear his name following his dismissal from the company in 2018 and his detention in Japan on financial misconduct charges.
Ghosn said the allegations were aimed at derailing his plans for a merger between Nissan and Renault.
He fled Japan in a box while awaiting trial and now lives in Lebanon.
The lawsuit, filed in Lebanon, accuses Nissan, two other companies and 12 people of committing crimes that include libel and defamation, according to Bloomberg and Reuters. A hearing date has been set for September.
Nissan declined to comment.
The damages Ghosn is seeking represent more than 5% of the company’s market value, which is about $16 billion.
Ghosn once ran the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, one of the world’s largest automakers.
Set to help revive Nissan from near bankruptcy in the early 2000s, Mr. Ghosn became CEO of French automaker Renault in 2005, becoming the first person to run two global Fortune 500 companies simultaneously, according to his official bio. .
Ghosn says his pursuit of a full merger between Nissan and Renault led to his downfall, alarming some who fear French influence on the Japanese automaker.
He was arrested in Japan in late 2018, on a number of charges, including allegations that he deliberately misreported his earnings and used company money to fund his lifestyle.
Ghosn has denied any wrongdoing and called Japan’s justice system “rigged”. He is currently unable to leave Lebanon, as he is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice issued by Japan.
His escape from the country, in which he disguised himself unnoticed on the streets of Tokyo and was hidden in a large box of musical equipment, made international headlines.
In 2021, an American father and son are extradited from the United States and sentenced to prison in Japan for helping Mr. Ghosn escape.
In 2022, the French authorities issued an arrest warrant for Ghosn, after an investigation into whether he had diverted company funds for personal use. At the time, he said he was confident he could prove his innocence should any charges arise.
Lebanon, where Mr. Ghosn spent part of his childhood, does not spare its citizens.
Ghosn said in the lawsuit filing that the allegations “will remain in people’s minds for years” and that he “will suffer from them for the rest of his life, because they have lasting and residual effects, even if they are based on mere suspicion,” Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, Nissan and Renault are finalizing an agreement announced earlier this year aimed at “rebalancing” their partnership, which would reduce Renault’s voting power over Nissan.
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