Carlos Ghosn is seen at the French Film Festival in Yokohama, Japan, on June 21, 2018. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A civil lawsuit in which automaker Nissan is seeking $90 million in damages from former chairman Carlos Ghosn began in Japan Friday.
The case began with an initial hearing in Yokohama District Court, Nissan officials said in a statement.
The automaker filed suit against Ghosn in February, saying he made "fraudulent payments" to himself for a residential property without paying rent, privately used corporate jets and made payments to his sister and personal lawyer in Lebanon.
The suit is the latest fight between the Japanese automaker and its fugitive former executive who escaped Japan last year while on bond and is now living in Lebanon.
"Nissan carried out a robust and thorough internal investigation that included external lawyers," company officials said Friday as the trial opened. "The investigation concluded that Ghosn intentionally committed serious misconduct.
"The legal actions initiated today form part of Nissan's policy of holding Ghosn accountable for the harm and financial losses incurred by the company due to the misconduct."
Ghosn argues that he's committed no wrongdoing and says Nissan and Japanese prosecutors have conspired against him.
In a statement to his website Friday, Ghosn said the charges are "fabricated."
"The current Nissan civil lawsuit is an extension to the extremely unreasonable internal investigation with sinister intent by a portion of Nissan's senior management and the unreasonable arrests and indictments by the public prosecutors," he said.
Ghosn was initially arrested in 2018 for financial misconduct and was temporarily held in custody before fleeing in an elaborate escape to Lebanon last year.
Ghosn, who was later charged with under-reporting his salary at Nissan, is also under investigation in France.