“Point final, point final,” exclaimed a clearly exasperated Renault spokesman to just-auto today (25 January) when contacted to discuss the latest shenanigans surrounding its industrial espionage case.
It’s a fair bet to assume Renault must be fed up with fielding calls on the subject, but the automaker is the one which first used the ‘industrial espionage’ phrase surrounding its sacking of three high-ranking executives.
And today’s extraordinary claim by one of the fired execs – Bertrand Rochette – that he was whisked away to Switzerland to ascertain whether he had a bank account in that country – will only add to this story’s whole mystery.
Rochette referred to the “astonishment” from Renault’s security people when he appeared to have called their bluff and suggested a trip – “let’s go to Switzerland,” he maintained he said.
The executive insisted he had nothing to do with the organisation of the trip but, once in Switzerland, what did Renault hope it would achieve? Isn’t the whole point of having a Swiss bank account that it’s a pretty private matter between the client and the bank?
After kicking his heels for a morning and wondering he said, how a Swiss account could have been set up and who could have initiated it, Rochette said Renault’s security detail reappeared and cancelled the mission.
No more details – have yet – been forthcoming and Renault has gone very quiet on the affair following Carlos Ghosn’s prime time TV appearance on Sunday night, when he skilfully avoided any opportunity to discuss bank accounts, Swiss or otherwise.
And responding to suggestions that Renault and the executives “are all victims of an attempt at exterior destabilisation,” Ghosn repeated the party line that “we will see what the conclusions of the inquiry are.”
The Swiss element is the most extraordinary twist yet in a story that seems to throw up new angles daily. Renault’s “point final” may be far from it.