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French probe Ghosn’s 2016 Versailles wedding bill

AFP NANTERRE, France (AFP-Jiji) — 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 Oct. 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, it said.

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