Dutch court orders former Nissan boss Ghosn to repay salary

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2020, file photo, former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn holds a press conference at the Maronite Christian Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, as he launches an initiative to help Lebanon that is undergoing a severe economic and financial crisis, in Kaslik, north of Beirut, Lebanon. A Dutch court has ordered fugitive, former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn to repay nearly 5 million euros in salary to an Amsterdam-based alliance between Nissan and Mitsubishi, and rejected his claim for millions in compensation for wrongful dismissal. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

AMSTERDAM — A Dutch court on Thursday rejected fugitive auto executive Carlos Ghosn’s wrongful dismissal claim against an Amsterdam-based alliance between Nissan and Mitsubishi and ordered him to repay nearly $6 million salary he received in 2018.

Ghosn vowed to appeal.

The ruling came in a case in which Ghosn sought to have his 2018 sacking from Nissan-Mitsubishi B.V. overturned and demanded $16.5 million in compensation.

The court in Amsterdam rejected his claims, saying he did not have a valid contract with the company at the time. The salary he was ordered to repay covers payments made to him by the Dutch joint venture from April until November 2018.

“As today’s verdict has been rendered without hearing Mr. Ghosn and other key witnesses, the defense team will now take the case to the court of appeal where Mr. Ghosn’s right to witness evidence will be granted,” a spokesman for Ghosn said in a written statement. “We are satisfied with the court verdict which ruled out any bad faith from Mr. Ghosn.”

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 2019 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, who has French, Brazilian and Lebanese citizenship, was sent by Renault in 1999 to salvage Nissan, which makes the Leaf electric car and Infiniti luxury models, from the brink of bankruptcy.