TOKYO -- Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, fresh off being slammed in a closely watched Tokyo verdict, is vowing to continue his legal battle with a fresh lawsuit against his former company.
The fugitive automotive icon said the Tokyo District Court’s conviction last week of his onetime deputy Greg Kelly is a “warning” to foreigners doing business in Japan.
“You will be out of your mind to accept any assignment in Japan, as long as you have this hostage justice system going on, particularly when you see that there is an obvious double standard between foreigners and Japanese” Ghosn told Automotive News in a video call after Kelly got a six-month suspended sentence. “This should be a warning for any foreigner located in Japan.”
In a wide-ranging discussion, Ghosn said Stellantis – run by his erstwhile protégé Carlos Tavares – was the real winner from the scandal that engulfed his Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi alliance, torpedoing sales, profits and market capitalization at all three automakers.
Ghosn said he was set to move on partnership talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. But those plans were scuttled by his November 2018 arrest, and rival PSA Group boss Tavares moved in to scoop up the Italian-American automaker and combine it the French concern to form Stellantis.
“Obviously in this competition between the two main French automakers, we know who the winner is and who is the loser, and we know why,” said Ghosn, who led the French-Japanese alliance for more than a decade, after rescuing Nissan from near bankruptcy and then helming Renault.
Meanwhile, Ghosn said the legal wrangling to clear his name is just beginning.
“We are not finished here,” Ghosn said. “I’m thinking of a much bigger lawsuit against Nissan.”
This would be in addition to a counter suit he is considering in Japan, in response to a civil suit Nissan filed against him seeking 10 billion yen ($87.1 million) in payback for claimed damages he inflicted through alleged financial misconduct and fraud.
Ghosn said his potential new suit would be filed in a jurisdiction outside Japan, where he expects to get fairer treatment before a judge. Ghosn declined to talk specifics and said he is waiting for some witnesses to come forward and some documents to be transmitted.
“This fight is far from over,” Ghosn said. “In terms of liability, you can expect Nissan to have much more liability than what is shown today.”