Renault to alert prosecutors over Carlos Ghosn's wedding costs

French carmaker had initiated its own probe within days of Mr Ghosn’s detention in Japan

FILE PHOTO: 70th Cannes Film Festival – Screening of the film "L'Amant double" (Amant Double) in competition - Red Carpet Arrivals - Cannes, France. 26/05/2017. Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and his wife Carole pose. Picture taken May 26, 2017.  REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/File Photo
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Renault has found evidence that it paid part of Carlos Ghosn's wedding costs and is preparing to turn the investigation over to prosecutors, nearly two weeks after the French carmaker's scandal-hit chairman and chief executive was forced out.

An internal probe established that a 2016 sponsorship deal with the Chateau de Versailles included a €50,000 (Dh208,000) personal benefit to Mr Ghosn, the carmaker said on Thursday, confirming a report in Le Figaro, a French daily.

Renault replaced Mr Ghosn on January 24, more than two months after his arrest in Japan over allegations of financial misconduct uncovered by Renault's Japanese affiliate Nissan, which he also chaired.

Renault began its own examination of payments to Mr Ghosn within days of his detention but had not flagged any irregularities until now.

"The event space at Versailles was made available to him without charge, and Mr Ghosn was unaware that the use of the space would be charged against Renault's allotted usage," Ghosn's France-based lawyer Jean-Yves Leborgne said.

"Carlos Ghosn paid for all of his wedding expense."

Renault has discovered that "Mr Ghosn was accorded a personal benefit valued at €50,000 under the terms of a sponsorship contract with the Chateau de Versailles", the company said in a statement.

"Renault has decided to bring these findings to the attention of the judicial authorities."

The office of Mr Ghosn's Japanese lawyer, Motonari Otsuru, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr Ghosn remains in detention in Tokyo with limited opportunity to respond publicly to allegations against him.

The rental fee was deducted from Renault's credit for use of the Grand Trianon, a palace situated in the north-western part of the Versailles, on October 8, 2016, when Mr Ghosn and his second wife, Carole, hosted their wedding reception at the 17th-century palace, the source said.

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