Economy

Renault alerts French authorities to Versailles gift to ex-chairman Ghosn

Renault alerts French authorities to Versailles gift to ex-chairman Ghosn

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.

Renault is investigating payments linked to the lavish second wedding of its former boss Carlos Ghosn at the Palace of Versailles.

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.

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. The event had already attracted public attention for its opulence and Marie Antoinette-themed costumes.

French carmaker Renault needs to show "total transparency" as it probes its business practices, including a sponsorship deal stuck with the Chateau de Versailles, finance minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.

'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.

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Prosecutors offices in Paris, the town of Versailles and the larger nearby city of Nanterre told AFP they had not yet received any information from Renault regarding the case as of yet.

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.

A Ghosn family spokeswoman, Devon Spurgeon, said he'll pay back costs and also denied a report in Les Echos newspaper that another palace soiree in 2014 was planned around his 60th birthday.

The finding was part of an internal probe and marked the first time Renault has disclosed possible improprieties by Ghosn, who remains in a Tokyo jail after allegations of financial crimes were brought against him by Japanese prosecutors. It's obvious: it's a story of betrayal.

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

Much of the tension between the partners stems from a complex ownership structure that gives Renault 43 percent of Nissan, whereas Nissan owns just 15 percent stake in the French company - and no voting rights.