If I were King of France …

In the course of the investigation against Carlos Ghosn, an impressive video has emerged. It shows how the former Renault boss celebrated his sixtieth birthday. Louis XIV would have been jealous.

Et is not a promotional film for champagne or evening dresses, it is a glimpse into the real life of the upper class. Of course, this evening on March 9, 2014 was also something very special for the supposedly better society: The car manager Carlos Ghosn had invited to the Palace of Versailles – officially to celebrate the anniversary of the alliance between Renault and Nissan, but it should not have been a coincidence that the date was also his 60th birthday, while the founding of Allianz fell on a completely different day.

The video had been on YouTube for five years, but it was not included in any list and was therefore only reserved for those users who knew the exact address. Now it has become public in the course of the investigation in France and is being debated in France.

The splendor of absolutism

The list of 160 invited guests included personalities such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the wife of former British Prime Minister Cherie Blair, the French actor François Cluzet and the Franco-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf. Company representatives from Renault and Nissan were hardly among the chosen ones, but many personal friends and acquaintances of Ghosn did.

As if he wanted to bring back all the splendor of French absolutism for one evening, the car manager left nothing to be desired: dancers and servants in costumes from the time of Louis XIV, a gourmet menu by French celebrity chef Alain Ducasse and fireworks in the garden of Versailles, which the guests could enjoy from the hall of mirrors.

Like Ghosn’s wedding in 2016, which he also celebrated in the Palace of Versailles, the evening is legally relevant today. Because the costs of the birthday party of 634,000 euros are said to have paid the companies of the Renault-Nissan-Allianz BV according to the findings of French investigators.

The now 65-year-old Ghosn was arrested at Tokyo Airport in November last year. The accusation was that large parts of his compensation were concealed at Nissan. Other allegations were later added, particularly the use of company funds for private purposes. The manager, who was born in Brazil and grew up in Lebanon, is said to have had his companies paid for expensive real estate in Rio de Janeiro and Beirut; Membership in the yacht club or visits to the Rio Carnival with friends also belong in this chapter.

Ghosn was imprisoned in Japan for months, today he is under house arrest there and awaiting trial. He has resigned from his management positions at Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.