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A Renault espionage scandal that turned into an espionage hoax scandal soaked up four months of people's lives in early 2011 and resulted in the resignation of company COO Patrick Pelata. An informant with some bad information who was paid €250,000 told Renault that three executives had sold electric vehicle technology to the Chinese and were laundering their money in secret accounts in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Renault fired the executives, and when the whole thing began to fall apart

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Carlos Ghosn at the Nissan Leaf battery plant groundbreaking – Click above for high-res image gallery

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On Thursday, France's finance and industry ministers issued a statement declaring that the fate of the individuals responsible for Renault's ongoing debacle lies in the hands of the country's government. France, which owns 15 percent of Renault, has called for a widespread investigation into the now-debunked claims that three Renault execs were possibly spying on the automaker.

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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

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While it's sister company, Nissan, may still be chasing after hybrids and dreaming of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV), reports say that Renault has had enough. It's dropped the duo and has decided it wants to go steady with electric vehicles. Company COO Patrick Pelata has let it be known that all its research and development resources will be be strictly focused on battery-powered locomotion and that they hope to have a third of the Renault line-up electric in 10 years.

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