Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Economy | By

Renault to alert prosecutors over Carlos Ghosn’s wedding costs

Renault to alert prosecutors over Carlos Ghosn’s wedding costs

Ghosn and his new wife Carole threw a Marie Antoinette-themed dinner and party at the former royal residence complete with entertainers in period costumes.

"We wanted it to feel as if we were inviting guests into our home - nothing too studied", Carole Ghosn told Town & Country magazine a few months later when it published photos of the wedding.

Renault 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.

Renault has found evidence that it paid part of Carlos Ghosn's wedding costs and is preparing to turn the investigation over to prosecutors, almost two weeks after the French carmaker's scandal-hit chairman and chief executive was forced out.

In a statement, the French vehicle manufacturer says that after compliance audits were initiated on November 23, 2018, it discovered that a €50,000 contribution was allocated to Ghosn's personal benefit as a charitable donation with the Château de Versailles where his wedding was held.

"Renault has chose to bring these facts to the attention of the judicial authorities", it added.

Ghosn led both Renault and Nissan and championed their alliance as it grew into the world's biggest-selling automaker. Ghosn remains in detention in Tokyo with limited opportunity to respond publicly to allegations against him.

Renault started investigating Ghosn's past activities after he was arrested in November in Tokyo, where he has been charged with falsifying financial reports and breach of trust. The carmaker alerted French authorities and the prosecutors' office has yet to decide about starting an investigation. Nikkei reports the move could have been prompted by the impending expiration of a tax break Ghosn had received in the Netherlands, where he had moved from France in 2012 to avoid a wealth tax. It's obvious: it's a story of betrayal.

So far Renault has said its internal investigations have found that his pay was in compliance with French law.

The chateau said Renault gave it 2.3 million euros to fund renovations in a 2016 philanthropic deal; in exchange, Renault was entitled to benefits from the chateau worth up to 25 percent of the total donation. Ghosn has said fellow executives opposed to forging closer ties between Nissan and Renault schemed against him.

Ghosn was the lynchpin of the three-way alliance, earning industry plaudits for driving together a sometimes fractious threesome with headquarters 10,000 kilometres apart.

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