TOKYO – Renault has warned French prosecutors about a questionable sponsorship agreement worth 50,000 euros ($ 56,000) with the historic Chateau de Versailles that supposedly had personally benefited Carlos Ghosn, its former president and CEO.
The French automaker said it had discovered the information as part of an internal compliance audit that began on November 23, four days after Ghosn was arrested in Tokyo on allegations of financial irregularities.
The move to involve French prosecutors increases the pressure on Ghosn, who until now faced accusations only in Japan. The Brazilian-born executive, who was also president of Nissan, has been accused of failing to report his compensation for several years while he was in charge of the Japanese automaker and the breach of confidence.
The charges followed an internal investigation at Nissan about his use of the company's funds. The findings were handed over to Tokyo prosecutors last year.
Ghosn has been held in a detention center in Tokyo for almost three months. Last week, speaking with Nikkei in his first interview since he was arrested, he said he was a victim of a plot by Nissan management and rebelled against his plans to merge the company with Renault. The French company is owned by 15% of the French state and owns 43.4% of the Japanese company. Ghosn denied all wrongdoing during his time in the two companies.
His arrest and the spiraling list of accusations leaked to the media have created serious tensions within the alliance that unites Renault and Nissan in one of the largest automobile production badociations in the world.
Last month, Renault appointed Jean-Dominique Senard as president to replace Ghosn, while Thierry Bollore, who was once Ghosn's right-hand man at the French automaker, was named CEO.
Renault did not give more details of the information pbaded to the prosecutors. However, the French newspaper, Le Figaro, reported that a sponsorship contract with the Chateau de Versailles, which was once the court of Sun King Louis XIV, also covered Ghosn's wedding fees at Grand Trianon Palace in 2016