Carlos Ghosn Could Have Spent Firm Funds on Wedding ceremony Celebration, Renault Says
PARIS — The French carmaker Renault on Thursday urged publicly for the primary time that Carlos Ghosn, its embattled former chairman and chief government, might have misused firm cash to finance a lavish Marie Antoinette-themed celebration at Versailles to have fun his second marriage and his new spouse’s 50th birthday.
Renault mentioned in an announcement that it had notified the French judicial authorities that Mr. Ghosn, the longtime chief of a car-making alliance that additionally consists of Nissan and Mitsubishi, had personally benefited from “an alternate price 50,000 euros,” or about $57,000, in reference to the 2016 celebration.
France’s justice ministry didn’t instantly touch upon whether or not it will pursue an investigation into the matter. The disclosure nonetheless threatened to extend the authorized jeopardy swirling round Mr. Ghosn, who’s in a Tokyo jail on prices that he underreported his earnings as Nissan chairman. Renault had beforehand mentioned that an inside overview raised no questions of wrongdoing on his half.
The funds at concern are linked to a €2.three million donation Renault made to Versailles beneath a 2016 sponsorship deal. Versailles officers mentioned in an announcement Thursday that the sponsorship was meant to finance renovations on the extravagant property, which was as soon as house to French kings and is now among the many nation’s prime vacationer points of interest.
In alternate, the carmaker was entitled to make use of the property for an equal rental worth of as much as 25 % of the contribution. Any Versailles properties Renault used beneath the deal have been to be solely for firm actions like group constructing, not for private occasions, in accordance an individual with data of the state of affairs who was not approved to talk publicly on the matter. The donation got here from a finances managed by the workplace of Mr. Ghosn in his position as Renault’s chairman and chief government, the individual mentioned.
The Versailles assertion mentioned Renault had requested to hire area within the Grand Trianon, a mansion on the palace grounds, and an adjoining gallery for a dinner, on Oct. 8, 2016 — the day of Mr. Ghosn’s celebration. The rental was valued at €50,000, the assertion mentioned.
Jean-Yves Le Borgne, Mr. Ghosn’s French lawyer, mentioned: “Carlos Ghosn paid for all of his marriage ceremony bills. The occasion area at Versailles was made out there to him with out cost, and Mr. Ghosn was unaware that using the area could be charged in opposition to Renault’s allotted utilization.”
In a subsequent assertion, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ghosn mentioned he would reimburse Versailles.
The French information outlet Le Figaro reported Thursday that an bill from an occasion firm that organized the celebration listed the rental as being “supplied by Versailles,” a sign that it had been a private present to Mr. Ghosn.
Even with no cash altering palms, staging a private celebration at Versailles beneath the sponsorship deal may very well be thought of an abuse of company property, a felony offense in France that carries penalties of as much as 5 years in jail and a nice of €375,000, or about $425,000.
The black-tie occasion with 120 company included actresses in interval clothes and powdered wigs welcoming Mr. Ghosn and his second spouse, Carole. The reception corridor was tended by white-suited waiters and featured tiered golden dishes full of macarons, and a towering, pyramid-shaped marriage ceremony cake product of choux pastry.
“Whenever you invite folks to a celebration, they are saying perhaps,” Mr. Ghosn advised City & Nation journal, which splashed paparazzi photographs of the occasion throughout its pages. “Whenever you invite them to Versailles, they are going to come.”
Images of the celebration have surfaced just lately on social media, circulating broadly as symbols of extra amid the so-called Yellow Vest protests in opposition to earnings inequality.
Renault started to look at Mr. Ghosn’s monetary actions in France after he was arrested on his non-public jet at Tokyo’s worldwide airport in November. He has been in jail there since.
Renault and Nissan have additionally been conducting a joint inquiry right into a Dutch company entity that Mr. Ghosn led, Renault-Nissan BV, which the Japanese authorities have mentioned he used to finance further advantages for himself, together with buying a number of properties with Nissan cash.
The inquiry, which is being led by Mazars, an auditing agency based mostly in Paris, is predicted to embody government compensation, funds to consultants and common bills, in accordance with two folks acquainted with the state of affairs.
For weeks, Renault stood by Mr. Ghosn. Because it grew to become obvious he couldn’t be launched on bail earlier than a trial in Japan, he resigned, paving the way in which for the French automaker to nominate a brand new chairman and chief government.
Mr. Ghosn insists that he’s harmless of all prices. He mentioned in latest interviews with Japanese and French newspapers that he was the sufferer of “plot and treason” by different Nissan leaders who wished to thwart his plans to convey the alliance companions collectively beneath a single holding firm.