Renault to alert prosecutors over ex-CEO Ghosns wedding costs


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.

FRENCH carmaker Renault today said it will inform investigators about a transaction it uncovered involving former boss Carlos Ghosn and the Palace of Versailles, where the auto executive held an extravagant wedding in 2016.

Carlos Ghosn is said to have been offered a free ceremony in 2016 after making a sponsorship deal between Renault and the historic royal palace.

Renault said in a statement Thursday that a company investigation found that Ghosn personally benefited from "an exchange worth 50,000 euros in the framework of a philanthropic accord" with Versailles. The event had already attracted public attention for its opulence and Marie Antoinette-themed costumes.

As part of that arrangement, Renault asked for permission to rent out space in the Grand Trianon mansion on the Versailles grounds for a "dinner" on Oct 8, 2016, the chateau said in a statement.

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

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Ghosn led both Renault and Nissan and championed their alliance as it grew into the world's biggest-selling auto maker. The carmaker alerted French authorities and the prosecutors' office has yet to decide about starting an investigation.

Ghosn's lawyer Jean-Yves Le Borgne said that the former Renault CEO "paid all the expenses related to his wedding", and that "only the hall was made available for his use without being billed". 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. Mr Ghosn remains in detention in Tokyo with limited opportunity to respond publicly to allegations against him. It's obvious: it's a story of betrayal.

Renault paid Ghosn €7.4 million in salary in 2017.

Renault initially stood by Ghosn, but named a new CEO and chairman last month to replace him as his Japanese legal case drags on.

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.