• Mar 4, 2011
The industrial espionage case involving three top Renault execs, some of the automaker's electric vehicle secrets and possibly even China continues. In early January, the French carmaker officially filed an accusation against a undisclosed company tied to a foreign power, according to Jean-Claude Marin, a Paris prosecutor, in a report posted by Reuters. This espionage case has grown to such a level that French industry manager Eric Besson stated that the nation was facing an "economic war" over the leaked electric vehicle technology.

The latest reports streaming in say that Renault may be the victim of "fraud," which led to the suspicions of espionage and ultimately resulted in the firing of the three execs, according to Frederique Le Greves, a spokeswoman for the carmarker. Le Greves claims that "one hypothesis" is that Renault was intentionally misled about foreign accounts held by the trio of execs and admits there's a possibility that the automaker may have been duped into suspecting espionage.

The automaker, which previously claimed that the fired execs sold company secrets, will revise its view if those accounts prove to be false. Le Greves told Automotive News (sub. req.) that:
In that case, it's clear that Renault was necessarily the victim of a fraud, or something else. Espionage remains one explanation.
Jean Reinhart, the automaker's lawyer, told Europe 1 radio that:
Nothing has come back to us for the moment, which means that this morning we are unable to say whether we have been manipulated or not. I refute the term 'manipulation'; we have no information that leads us in one way or another to say that the scenario of espionage does not exist.
There's even been some reports claiming that Renault may have dreamed up this mess. However, Carlos Ghosn, the automaker's chief executive officer, responded to those accusations with this:
If there were no certainties about this, we wouldn't be where we are now.
So, what was it? Espionage, fraud, or something else entirely? Chime in by dropping a comment below.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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