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March 4, 2011updated 08 Apr 2021 8:13am

FRANCE: Renault could take back sacked spy three: COO

Renault says it would be prepared to reinstate its sacked three executives supposedly involved in the industrial espionage case if no guilt is found.

Renault says it would be prepared to reinstate its sacked three executives supposedly involved in the industrial espionage case if no guilt is found.

The sensational development in the case that has gripped France since the turn of the year, has occured after “a certain number of elements” came to light in the affair that have led to Renault re-evaluating its position.

All three high-ranking executives have vehemently protested their innocence in the affair which has apparently revolved around the disposal of company information surrounding electric vehicles.

It is as yet unclear what the “elements” are that Renault refers to and what has led it to now have some doubts surrounding the matter, which originally saw the manufactuer launch a judicial investigation into supposed industrial espionage alleging corruption, theft and concealment.

But in a move that could see all three taken back to the automaker, a spokeswoman for the manufacturer in Paris provided just-auto with comments made by Renault chief operating officer Patrick Pelata.

“If the doubts were lifted on the guilt of the three executives, we will be prepared to repair the injustices and propose [to] reinstate them,” he said.

The COO also raised the possibility that Renault itself had been the subject of manipulation – a development that could see Michel Balthazard, Mathieu Tenenbaum and Bertrand Rochette reinstated at the manufacturer.

“Either it is a spying affair and a security manager is protecting its source at any cost or we are a victim of manipulation, which could [take] the form of a swindle,” Pelata added.

Renault has decided to go public with its startling comments following remarks made by French politicians concerning the espionage case. “We started to get some political comments on the issue,” the Renault spokeswoman added.

“We thought it would be good to have Renault’s point of view from M. Pelata.

Renault’s subtle shift of position could well cause a flurry of activity from lawyers associated with the three employees, who have all reacted strongly to Renault’s actions in sacking them.

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