Nissan was told by a court in the United Arab Emirates to pay 1.3 billion dirhams ($354 million) to a joint-venture partner that sued the automaker for breaching an agreement over the distribution of vehicles in the region.
Al Dahana FZCO, a Dubai-based company established by people with links to former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn, accused Nissan in 2019 of reneging on its contractual obligations. That happened months after Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo on allegations of understating his compensation, although he has since fled Japan to escape trial and now resides in Lebanon.
Nissan said the partnership ended in 2019 after it fully complied with its contractual obligations, and that legal proceedings are ongoing in the emirate.
"We are confident that Nissan has acted properly throughout and look forward to resolving the matter through the Dubai courts for the benefit of our employees, customers and stakeholders," Azusa Momose, a spokeswoman for the automaker, wrote in an emailed statement.
Nissan has been dealing with a plethora of legal issues since the arrests of Ghosn and Greg Kelly, a former Nissan director who was accused of helping Ghosn hide income. Nissan was also charged, and in turn the automaker has sued its former chairman in Japan. There are also legal proceedings in France and the Netherlands.
Last month, Nissan agreed to settle a U.S. class action by investors who said they were misled about Ghosn's compensation. Kelly's trial is ongoing in Japan, with a verdict due in March.
The judgment by the Dubai Court of First Instance was announced in a statement by Al Dahana on Thursday. A representative of Al Dahana did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Al Dahana, created in 2008 to help promote sales of Nissan vehicles in the Gulf region, is jointly owned by Saudi Arabian billionaire Khaled Juffali and Nasser Watar, a Lebanese businessman.
Juffali was implicated in additional charges brought against Ghosn by Japanese prosecutors, who said Juffali was involved in funneling Nissan's money into companies in the Middle East controlled by Ghosn.
Both Ghosn and Kelly have denied the charges levied against them.
"Al Dahana is extremely happy with the court's verdict and would like to thank Dubai Courts for their impartial and just ruling," Watar said in the statement, adding that the decision "will pave the way for other regional companies to seek justice as well."
The Dubai court issued a precautionary attachment order over goods and moveables, bank accounts and balances of the two companies, according to the statement.
"Nissan has been successfully defending multiple proceedings filed by Al Dahana," Momose said. "One set of proceedings regarding this matter remains ongoing and is subject to further proceedings in the Dubai Court of Appeal. "As the litigation is ongoing, applying normal respect to the legal process, we have no further comment."