Renault probes gift from Versailles chateau to ex-CEO Ghosn

Carlos GhosnRenault said Thursday it would inform investigators that its former chief Carlos Ghosn, who is being held in Japan on allegations of financial misconduct, personally benefited from a corporate sponsorship deal.

The latest allegations concern Ghosn‘s lavish marriage at the Chateau de Versailles outside Paris in October 2016.

According to a report in the Figaro newspaper, the operators of the palace waived the usual 50,000-euro ($57,000) fee for the reception at the 17th-century Grand Trianon complex as part of a sponsorship deal between Versailles and Renault.

The firm’s internal audits “identified that a contribution of 50,000 euros, under a sponsorship agreement signed with the Chateau de Versailles, was allocated to Mr. Ghosn’s personal benefit”, Renault said in its statement.

 Ghosn threw an extravagant Marie Antoinette-themed wedding party at Versailles to celebrate his second marriage which featured actors in 18th-century clothing.

Ghosn’s arrest in November in Japan and subsequent indictment on three charges has led to renewed scrutiny of his lifestyle and allegations from his Japanese partners that he was greedy.

It has also exposed rifts between Nissan and French carmaker Renault which, together with Mitsubishi Motors, make up the world’s top-selling auto manufacturing group.

The Japanese firms jettisoned Ghosn almost immediately but Renault waited much longer and the tycoon eventually resigned as chairman and CEO.

In an interview with AFP last week, Ghosn said Nissan’s probe into his alleged misconduct was a “trap”, “plot” and a “story of betrayal”.

(AFP)