PARIS -- Carlos Ghosn plans to pay back the Chateau de Versailles for costs related to his Marie Antoinette-themed wedding party after Renault disclosed that its former chairman may have improperly used a sponsorship deal to host the event.
Ghosn will reimburse the palace, which will in turn compensate the French automaker, a spokeswoman for his family, Devon Spurgeon, said by phone Friday.
The response came a day after Renault said it would tell French authorities that the jailed executive had received a “personal benefit” worth 50,000 euros ($57,000) related to an agreement with the chateau. 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.
The sum is said to be the estimated cost of renting the historic premises under a contract signed by Ghosn that entitled the automaker to hold corporate events at Versailles. He and his wife Carole threw an extravagant party there in 2016 that was captured in a photo spread showing actors in period costumes, along with eye-popping arrays of cakes.
Ghosn’s quick decision to pay back the chateau contrasts with his stance in Japan, where he has rejected prosecutor claims of financial wrongdoing related to his time at the helm of Renault partner Nissan. In his first Tokyo court appearance last month, he said he was “wrongly accused and unfairly detained based on meritless and unsubstantiated accusations.” He painted the picture of a loyal company man who would not dream of harming the company.
After his Nov. 19 arrest, Ghosn was quickly ousted by Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, the other Japanese partner in the alliance. He resigned last month as chairman and chief executive officer of Renault, in which the French state is the most powerful shareholder. His downfall has triggered tension within the alliance, partly because Nissan moved fast to remove him while Renault dragged its feet.