Friday, 26 April, 2019

Renault probes gift from Versailles chateau linked to Ghosn's wedding

Renault to alert prosecutors over ex-CEO Ghosn's... Renault probes gift from Versailles chateau linked to Ghosn's wedding
Ginger Lawrence | 10 February, 2019, 10:30

He was quickly ousted by alliance partners Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors and resigned as chairman and chief executive officer of Renault last month.

An internal probe established that a 2016 sponsorship deal with the Chateau de Versailles included a 50,000 euro ($57,000) personal benefit to Ghosn, the carmaker said on Thursday, confirming a report in Le Figaro.

To add to his already formidable legal problems in Japan, fallen auto industry icon Carlos Ghosn is now being investigated by his former company, Groupe Renault, and the French government for illegally using their money to fund his opulent wedding in 2016.

The investigation has "identified that Mr Ghosn was accorded a personal benefit valued at 50,000 euros under the terms of a sponsorship contract with the Chateau de Versailles", Renault said on Thursday.

Ghosn and his wife Carole used the Grand Trianon part of Versailles for a party they threw in 2016 inspired by Sofia Coppola's 2006 film, Marie Antoinette.

It said the arrangement was made as part of a sponsorship deal between Versailles and Renault. Renault said it was alerting French judicial authorities.

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Renault started an internal probe in November, shortly after Ghosn was arrested.

Ghosn's arrest and continued detention marks a stunning fall from grace for an executive widely credited with forging the Renault and Nissan alliance into the world's top-selling automotive group. The carmaker alerted French authorities and the prosecutors' office has yet to decide about starting an investigation.

"The event space at Versailles was made available to him without charge and Mr Ghosn was unaware that the use of the space would be charged against Renault's allotted usage", he wrote in the e-mail. There is not one yen that I have received that was not reported, ' Ghosn told AFP in an interview at the Tokyo detention centre where he is being held last week.

The affair has also exposed rifts between Renault and Nissan, which some analysts say was bristling at Ghosn's efforts to bring the two automakers' operations even closer together. There is no question about this, ' he said.

Renault holds a 43-percent stake in Nissan along with voting rights, while the latter owns only a 15-percent non-voting stake in the former.