Nissan Motor Co. plans to file suit against former Chairman Carlos Ghosn to claim damages stemming from his alleged misconduct, according to sources.
Through in-house investigations, Nissan has found several cases of Ghosn and his aides allegedly spending corporate funds for private purposes. The automaker is looking to pursue a civil suit to resolve the damages based on Ghosn’s civil liability in the case.
According to the sources, Nissan subsidiary Zi-A Capital BV was established in 2010 in the Netherlands for the purpose of investing in promising start-ups. Allegedly, it was instead used to unofficially pay Ghosn and his aides for actions such as purchasing houses for Ghosn and his family.
The subsidiary purchased Ghosn’s Rio de Janeiro home from his acquaintance for about $5.8 million (about ¥630 million) including the costs for silver art objects. It also paid about $17 million (about ¥1.85 billion) for renovations to Ghosn’s Beirut home and the restoration of a chandelier there.
In 2003, Nissan formed an advisory contract with Ghosn’s sister in the name of donation activities in the world. However, the automaker has been unable to find any evidence of activities she has performed. Even so, the automaker paid her about $755,000 (about ¥82 million) between 2003 and 2016 as her remuneration.
Nissan deems that the above factors are the personal use of company funds.
It was also found that an intra-office email was allegedly sent to staff at Nissan’s secretarial room on the occasion of Zi-A’s establishment stating that remuneration be paid from Zi-A to “CG” (Carlos Ghosn) and others without informing the Nissan human resources department.
This alleged email was sent the day before Nissan’s Oct. 21, 2010, management meeting where the establishment of Zi-A was decided. The email also allegedly mentioned that the new company will be Nissan’s unconsolidated subsidiary so that it would not need to disclose Zi-A’s financial details, so as to avoid audits from the auditor.
The email also allegedly said that remuneration be paid to other Nissan executives, including former Representative Director Greg Kelly, who has also been indicted on charges of violating the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law