Former Renault and Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn is on a mission to rebuild his public image following his arrest and detention on charges that he concealed and redirected a great deal of money to himself, including through a distributor in Oman.
Meanwhile, auditors are still trying to prove that his spending habits were shady, and a YouTube video of a party organized by Ghosn in March of 2014 at the palace of Versailles might just help their case.
The 8 minute-long video depicts an extravagant party allegedly paid for by Renault-Nissan B.V (RNBV), and while Ghosn’s camp claims that the event was held for business purposes only (a celebration of the 15th anniversary of the alliance), it also happened to overlap with the former chairman’s 60th birthday. Roughly 160 guests attended the venue, including a few Renault and Nissan executives.
While throwing a party for your company or yourself is in no way illegal, Autonews reports that the auditor, Mazars, found out just how much RNBV ended up paying for that event – a staggering 635,000 euros ($712,000).
“The professionally produced video shows guests arriving at the palace of Versailles and strolling through a cordon of historical re-enactors. Inside the palace, they munch on canapes and pose for pictures with men and women in powdered wigs and period costumes. A string ensemble plays classical music in the hall of mirrors, while other musicians greet them in various chambers and bedrooms.
A tuxedoed Ghosn is shown greeting guests at a dining table that spans the length of a hallway. A troupe of dancers provides entertainment during the elaborately choreographed meal. The evening is capped off by a fireworks display.”
The former Renault-Nissan alliance exec is currently awaiting trial in Japan, while still professing his innocence, suggesting that what has happened to him is the result of a “palace coup” orchestrated by Nissan executives who were against his plans to further integrate the Japanese automaker with Renault. Yet, auditors say that they have identified millions of euros in spending that Ghosn may have used for personal affairs, which might include this party at Versailles.
After watching the entire video, we can safely say that this entire event was a little too over the top, especially as far as what it cost. This doesn’t mean that anything illegal took place, but at the same time it might help prosecutors strengthen their case for “mismanagement” of company funds.