PARIS (Reuters) – The French Minister of Finance said on Sunday a severance payment for the former Renault (RENA.PA) Chief Carlos Ghosn, forced to resign in a financial scandal, should not be "exorbitant" and that the French state would closely follow the matter.
FILE PHOTO: Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Alliance Renault-Nissan, poses after the presentation of Renault's annual results 2015 at their headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, February 12, 2016. REUTERS / Benoit Tessier / File Photo
Renault, which this week has appointed a chairman and chief executive tandem to replace Ghosn, has yet to finalize his former chiefs & dismissal package, a potentially explosive problem in France where the government is faced with protests about low wages and inequality.
"Nobody would understand if the departure fee of Carlos Ghosn was exorbitant," Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio.
"We are going to be extremely vigilant."
The French state is Renault's largest shareholder, with a stake of around 15 percent, and has two board seats.
Ghosn resigned last week in his role in Renault under pressure from the French government after his arrest in Japan in November and charges for financial misconduct. He denies any wrongdoing.
The scandal has the alliance of Renault with the Japanese Nissan (7201.T), an industrial partnership that has built Ghosn into a global giant of engines for more than twenty years.
The French CGT trade union has estimated that Ghosn's departure package is worth 25-28 million euros ($ 28-32 million), in addition to an annual pension of 800,000 euros.
Le Maire refused to say what he thought would be an acceptable installment for Ghosn, but said that the government had previously succeeded in reducing the remuneration package for Ghosn by 30% by 2018 compared to its total of 7.4 million euros. in 2017.
The finance minister also said that in the coming months he would propose legislation to demand from large companies in France established bosses to make the country their tax domicile.
The changes would focus on large companies listed on the CAC-40 .FCHI and SBF-120 .SBF120 indices on the Paris stock market, together with groups in which the state has a holding, said Le Maire.
The legislation would include sanctions for company executives who violate the rule, he added.
Reporting by Gus Trompiz, Danielle Rouquie and Bertrand Boucey; Edited by Mark Potter