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Ghosn launches €15 million legal battle with France’s Renault

Carlos Ghosn pictured during the press conference he gave in Beirut on January 8, 2020, days after his dramatic escape from Japan.
Carlos Ghosn pictured during the press conference he gave in Beirut on January 8, 2020, days after his dramatic escape from Japan. © Mohamed Azakir, Reuters

Renault’s former CEO Carlos Ghosn, who fled Japan while awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges, is taking the French carmaker to court over an unpaid retirement benefit and preparing further legal action to claim shares worth more than 15 million euros.

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Ghosn has filed a complaint with a French employment tribunal in Boulogne-Billancourt outside Paris, when Renault is headquartered, a source close to Ghosn told AFP on Monday, confirming a report in Le Figaro daily.

A Renault spokesman said the company had received notice of the lawsuit in December. Both sides said a hearing is expected at the end of February, without giving a precise date.

The claim focuses on the payment of a retirement benefit of 250,000 euros ($278,000) which Renault did not pay on the grounds that Ghosn quit at the end of January 2019 while he was still in prison in Japan.

Ghosn, 65, was arrested in Tokyo in November 2018 on charges of financial misconduct while head of Renault's alliance partner Nissan, including a claim he under-reported millions of dollars in salary.

However, his team argues Ghosn did not quit of his own free will but left the company as he was no longer able to lead it from behind bars.

Sources close to Ghosn added that an even larger claim is planned at a French commercial court to obtain an annual supplementary pension of 774,774 euros ($861,700) per year, as well as 380,000 shares granted for reaching performance targets.

These shares, handed out from 2015-2018 on the condition he was still at the firm four years later, are now worth 15.5 million euros at current prices.

Ghosn fled Japan for Lebanon in late January while awaiting a trial he said would not be fair under Japan's legal system.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

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