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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 March 2019

Ghosn-led companies gave cash to his children's school

Former head of Nissan and Renault presented company money to American School in Paris, among other donations

Carlos Ghosn left Tokyo detention centre on Wednesday after more than three months in custody. AP
Carlos Ghosn left Tokyo detention centre on Wednesday after more than three months in custody. AP

Companies headed by Carlos Ghosn, the embattled former head of Nissan Motor and Renault, donated money to his children’s school and the posh debutantes’ ball in Paris where his daughters were presented.

The donations, first reported by L’Express Magazine, were confirmed by the organisations involved.

The gifts are the latest revelations over Mr Ghosn’s use of company funds, including an extended weekend for eight couples at Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival and lavish events at the Versailles Palace. The disclosures come as the car makers carry out an audit of the Dutch company that oversees their partnership. The alliance had a budget of €900,000 (Dh3.7 million) in 2018 for “donations and sponsors”, L’Express said.

Mr Ghosn, 64, was released on bail Wednesday after being held for 108 days in a Tokyo prison on charges of under-reporting his income and breach of trust at Nissan. Gaining his liberty will allow him more time to prepare his legal defence for a trial that may be months away, and to defend himself in the court of public opinion.

The court granted bail to the former chairman of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors after his lawyers gave assurances that he would remain in Tokyo, surrender his passport to his lawyer and submit to extensive surveillance.

Mr Ghosn has also agreed to set up cameras at the entrances and exits to his residence, and is prohibited from using the internet or sending and receiving text messages. He is banned from communicating with parties involved in his case, and permitted computer access only at his lawyer's office.

He has denied wrongdoing.

The Renault-Nissan alliance and Mr Ghosn’s family are listed as donors by the American School in Paris for the construction of its new campus, which includes a “Ghosn room”. His son Anthony attended the school, as did his daughter Maya, according to her LinkedIn profile. In a statement, the school said the auto alliance “has been a valued partner”.

Renault began supporting the Paris “Debutantes’ Ball", an event typically held each year for 25 young high-society women, a decade ago. Mr Ghosn’s daughter Nadine attended in 2005, and Caroline in 2006, while Anthony put in an appearance in 2013, said Ophelie Renouard, the ball’s organiser.

A spokeswoman for the Ghosn family said Renault had a sponsorship relationship with the debutantes’ ball that helped the car makers’ image, as well as a policy to support the schools attended by the children of its expatriate staff. It’s not unusual for international companies to make such contributions, she said.

Spokesmen for Renault and the Renault-Nissan alliance declined to comment.

Mr Ghosn was ousted as chairman of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. shortly after his November arrest, and resigned in January as chairman and chief executive officer of Renault, thus losing his position atop the alliance. His downfall has triggered tension within the car-making pact that is entwined by cross-shareholdings.

Updated: March 8, 2019 01:10 AM

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