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Renault ex-chairman Ghosn to reimburse Versailles palace for cost of 2016 wedding

[PARIS] Carlos Ghosn plans to pay back the Chateau de Versailles for costs related to his Marie Antoinette-themed wedding party after Renault SA disclosed that its former chairman may have improperly used a sponsorship deal to host the event.

Ghosn will reimburse the palace, which will in turn compensate the French carmaker, a spokesman for the family, Devon Spurgeon, said on Friday.

The response came a day after Renault said the jailed executive had received a "personal benefit" worth 50,000 euros (S$76,800) and it would turned over the finding to French authorities. The disclosure was made as of an internal probe marked the first time Renault had disclosed possible improprieties by Ghosn.

The sum is the estimated cost of renting the historic premises under a contract signed by Ghosn that entitled the carmaker to hold corporate events at Versailles, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the information isn't public. Using the castle for his 2016 nuptials didn't likely benefit the company, the person said.

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Ghosn remains in a Tokyo prison after allegations of financial crimes were brought against him by Japanese authorities. Renault started its own investigation in November, shortly after he was arrested in Tokyo.

The investigation is "starting to get results," French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in Paris on Thursday.

Ghosn paid for all his wedding expenses, his lawyer in France Jean-Yves Le Borgne had said in a statement. "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," he wrote in the email.

The Versailles event has been widely held up as evidence of the executive's lavish lifestyle when he headed three global car companies. He has denied wrongdoing in connection with the Japanese charges.

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