French prosecutors open inquiry into Ghosn’s Versailles wedding

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn and his wife Carole at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. (AFP)
Updated 11 March 2019
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French prosecutors open inquiry into Ghosn’s Versailles wedding

  • Ghosn and his second wife Carole threw a Marie Antoinette-themed dinner and party at the former royal residence at Versailles
  • Ghosn was released from a Tokyo detention center last week after more than 100 days in custody

NANTERRE: French prosecutors have begun an inquiry into the lavish wedding party at the Palace of Versailles for former Renault and Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, part of which was billed to Renault, a legal source told AFP on Monday.
The French automaker disclosed last month that the chateau had waived the usual €50,000 ($56,000) rental fee for the October 2016 party under a sponsorship fee signed a few months earlier.
The waived bill could amount to the misuse of company resources, as well as tax evasion, if the benefit-in-kind was not declared to French authorities.
Renault began sifting through Ghosn’s years at the helm after his shock arrest in Tokyo last November on charges of under-reporting millions of dollars in salary as head of Nissan, Renault’s alliance partner.
His subsequent indictment in Japan on three charges of financial misconduct has led to renewed scrutiny of his management and lifestyle at both companies.
Ghosn and his second wife Carole threw a Marie Antoinette-themed dinner and party at the former royal residence at Versailles, complete with entertainers in period costumes, on October 8, 2016.
In a statement, the Chateau de Versailles said Renault had signed a €2.3-million sponsorship deal with the palace in June 2016.
Under the terms of the deal, Renault could benefit in return from Versailles access and other services worth a maximum 25 percent of the deal, in this case around 575,000 euros, it said.
Ghosn’s lawyer in France, Jean-Yves Le Borgne, told AFP that the executive “stands ready” to repay the money, saying his client was “not aware he owed it because he had not been billed.
“He thought it was free,” Le Borgne said.
Ghosn was released from a Tokyo detention center last week after more than 100 days in custody, following an unusual court decision allowing him to post bail of one billion yen ($9 million).
The executive, who turned 65 over the weekend, has strongly denied the charges of financial misdeeds.
But he has been stripped of his chairmanships at Nissan and fellow alliance partner Mitsubishi, and removed as CEO of Renault, while awaiting trial.


Ethiopia crash investigators return home after reviewing black box data

Data from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder is now in Addis Ababa. (File/AFP)
Updated 3 min 37 sec ago
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Ethiopia crash investigators return home after reviewing black box data

  • Data from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder is in Addis Ababa
  • The crash of the Boeing Co. 737 MAX 8 airliner last week killed all 157 people

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopian air crash investigators have returned to Addis Ababa from Paris where they had reviewed the black box data from a doomed Ethiopian Airlines jet, two sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Tuesday.
Data from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder is now in Addis Ababa, one of the sources said on condition of anonymity.
The crash of the Boeing Co. 737 MAX 8 airliner last week killed all 157 people on board and prompted regulators to ground the model pending more information from the investigation.