Hearings in $1 Billion Lawsuit Filed by Auto Tycoon Ghosn against Nissan Starts in Beirut

Former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 23, 2023. (AP)
Former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 23, 2023. (AP)
TT

Hearings in $1 Billion Lawsuit Filed by Auto Tycoon Ghosn against Nissan Starts in Beirut

Former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 23, 2023. (AP)
Former Nissan executive Carlos Ghosn speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 23, 2023. (AP)

Hearings in the $1 billion lawsuit filed by auto tycoon Carlos Ghosn against Nissan and other defendants started in Beirut on Monday with lawyers of both sides meeting the judge in charge of the case, judicial officials said.

The former Nissan CEO filed the case against Nissan in May in Beirut, alleging he was detained in Japan in 2018 on false charges because of what he calls the automaker's disinformation against him. The 69-year-old Ghosn is seeking half of the $1 billion in damages and half for compensation including salary, retirement funds and stock options.

Ghosn is also seeking monetary compensation from a Nissan affiliate based in Lebanon, as well as from entities that took part in the investigation leading up to his arrest.

He 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. 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.

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.

In a session that lasted about four hours at the Palace of Justice in Beirut, lawyers representing Ghosn and Nissan met with Judge Sabbouh Suleiman at the Beirut prosecutor’s office, the officials said on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. None of the lawyers or the judge spoke to reporters.

A date was expected to be set for the next session.

Ghosn led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy before his 2018 arrest.

He is now wanted in Japan and France. Since he fled to Lebanon, Beirut has received three notices from Interpol based on arrest warrants for him from those countries. 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.

The office of Ghosn’s lawyer declined to comment on the case when contacted by The Associated Press.

Ghosn claims to be the victim of a character assassination campaign led by Nissan with the complicity of the Japanese government, aided by accomplices in France.



Food Piles Up at Gaza Crossing as Aid Agencies Say Unable to Work

Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
TT

Food Piles Up at Gaza Crossing as Aid Agencies Say Unable to Work

Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP

Days after Israel announced a daily pause in fighting on a key route to allow more aid into Gaza, chaos in the besieged Palestinian territory has left vital supplies piled up and undistributed in the searing summer heat, AFP reported.

More than eight months of war, sparked by Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, have led to dire humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and repeated UN warnings of famine.

Desperation among Gaza's 2.4 million population has increased as fighting rages, sparking warnings from agencies that they are unable to deliver aid.

Israel says it has let supplies in and called on agencies to step up deliveries.

"The breakdown of public order and safety is increasingly endangering humanitarian workers and operations in Gaza," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, said in a briefing late Friday.

"Alongside the fighting, criminal activities and the risk of theft and robbery has effectively prevented humanitarian access to critical locations."

But Israel says it has allowed hundreds of trucks of aid into southern Gaza, trading blame with the United Nations over why the aid is stacking up.

It shared aerial footage of containers lined up on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing and more trucks arriving to add to the stockpile.

With civil order breaking down in Gaza, the UN says it has been unable to pick up any supplies from Kerem Shalom since Tuesday, leaving crucial aid in limbo.

A deputy UN spokesman this week said the crossing "is operating with limited functionality, including because of fighting in the area".

William Schomburg, International Committee of the Red Cross chief in Rafah, said arranging lorries from the Egyptian side in particular was complicated.

"It's not just a question of civil order, but also the fact that you often have to cross battlefields," he said in an online briefing, adding that the area near Kerem Shalom had been hostile.

"There were even rockets fired nearby. So this whole area is particularly complicated to navigate for reasons linked to the hostilities and for reasons linked to general security."

Israel's coordinator for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, known as COGAT, said Thursday "the content of 1,200 aid trucks awaits collection by UN aid agencies", saying a lack of distribution was responsible.

Earlier in the week, COGAT spokesman Shimon Freedman told reporters at the crossing the daily pause on a southern road into Gaza was designed to allow the UN "to collect and distribute more aid" alongside an Israeli military presence.

He said most of the aid had not moved because "organizations have not taken sufficient steps to improve their distribution capacity".

Aid agencies have instead pointed to Israel's offensive on the southern city of Rafah, which pushed out more than a million people and closed a border crossing with Egypt, as a deepening humanitarian crisis hampered relief efforts.

Schomburg described Rafah City as a "ghost town".

"It is a ghost town in the sense that you see very few people, high levels of destruction, and really just another symbol of the unfolding tragedy that has become Gaza over the last nine months," he said.

The UN food agency has said its aid convoys have been looted inside Gaza by "desperate people".

As both sides stall, it is the civilians in Gaza who are paying the price.

"We don't see any aid. Everything we get to eat comes from our own money and it's all very expensive," said Umm Mohammad Zamlat, 66, from northern Gaza but now living in Khan Yunis in the south.

"Even agencies specialized in aid deliveries are not able to provide anything to us," she added.