Ghosn seeks documents in Amsterdam wrongful dismissal case

Business

Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn speaks to Japanese media during an interview in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. A lawyer for Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s former chairman who skipped bail in Japan and fled to Lebanon, on Friday slammed a gaffe by the Japanese justice minister who said that Ghosn should “prove” his innocence. Ghosn, who was awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges, fled Tokyo and appeared in Beirut Dec. 30. (Meika Fujio/Kyodo News via AP)

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Lawyers representing fugitive former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn in a wrongful dismissal case went to court in Amsterdam on Monday seeking disclosure of evidence that led to Ghosn being fired.

Ghosn’s Dutch lawyer Roeland de Mol said after the hearing that he wants a “level playing field” in his battle to have Ghosn’s dismissal from the Amsterdam-based alliance between automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi overturned.

Ghosn also is seeking 15 million euros ($16.5 million) in compensation, De Mol said.

A lawyer for Nissan, Eelco Meerdink, described the request as “a fishing expedition.” The company argues it has already provided a large number of documents to Ghosn’s legal team.

It was not immediately clear if judges might call Ghosn to testify in the wrongful dismissal case.

The Dutch case stems from Nissan’s decision to fire Ghosn after he was accused of financial misconduct in Japan.

The former high-flying automotive executive skipped bail in Tokyo in late December and fled to Lebanon, where he grew up.

Ghosn, who was first arrested in November 2018, has said he is innocent of allegations in Japan that he under-reported his future income and committed a breach of trust by diverting Nissan money for his personal gain. He says the compensation was never decided on or received, and the Nissan payments were for legitimate business purposes.

Ghosn’s escape has raised questions around the case in Japan, as Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan. The Amsterdam civil case is going ahead, also in his absence.

“In the end the only thing we want is a level playing field,” De Mol said of his request for disclosure. “We want to have this discussion with all our cards on the table: Our cards on the table, their cards on the table and then let the judge decide who’s to blame here.”

De Mol said that the court ruled that lawyers for Nissan Mitsubishi must provide their defense in writing in six weeks. The court said it had called for “an exchange of documents” but did not elaborate further.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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