Renault is insisting it was simply preparing for all scenarios as it emerged today (12 October) it had envisaged a possible suicide among its wrongly-accused top executives involved in the so-called 'spy affair' of last year.

All three executives were completely cleared of any wrong-doing, but an internal email now reveals Renault had envisaged the worst following the extraordinary story that gripped France and which brought in the country's secret service, the DCRI.

Renault in Paris confirmed to just-auto the words used in the internal document included the phrase 'mettre fin a ses jours,' literally, 'putting an end to one's days,' and which clearly raises the prospect of an employee taking his own life.

"It was a question of crisis communication which had been envisaged for that moment," a Renault spokeswoman told just-auto. "We envisage all possibilities including the possibility in the most extreme case."

Renault added the document formed part of a human resources plan that also offered psychological support to the three executives, even if they had been sacked at the time.

"They were offered psychological support even if the company was totally convinced it was a spying affair," a separate Renault spokesman in France told just-auto. "At that time, these three employees were considered responsible for this affair, so the company said there is a possible risk."

The spy scandal saw Renault's former second-in-command, Patrick Pelata, leave the company, which is believed to have paid the three executives in the region of EUR11m (US$14.3m), a figure not confirmed by the automaker.