A senior French government member has echoed trade union calls for compensation to be made available to Renault’s three sacked executives if they are cleared by an inquiry into supposed spying at the automaker.

French industry minister Eric Besson has joined the growing reparation chorus surrounding the affair, although Renault has said it will wait for the Paris prosecutor’s inquiry results before commenting further.

“If it is a question of manipulation and if innocent people have been wrongly accused, then they deserve compensation, rehabilitation and if they want it, reinstatement,” said Besson on French radio station RTL.

“My preoccupation is human on the one hand and industrial on the other. It is not to contribute to the destabilisation of Renault. The director general [Pelata] says in quotation marks ‘I will offer my head, I will take the conclusions for myself if I am mistaken’ – that is already good.”

Despite his remarks, the industry minister added he nevertheless understood those who said Pelata’s comments were not enough, although he added: “Me, I will not participate in that.”

Last week, Pelata raised the possibility Renault had been the victim of a “manipulation that could take the form of a swindle”.