A lawyer acting for Renault in the alleged industrial espionage affair is claiming French secret services are leaking information to the media.

Jean Reinhart has taken to French airwaves in bid to counter the avalanche of publicity generated by Renault’s sacked executives, one of whom maintains he was taken to Switzerland by the automaker to discuss the supposed existence of overseas bank accounts.

When put to Reinhart that his counter-espionage service claims are “quite heavy,” the lawyer has no hesitation in fighting his corner.

“That can only come from the DCRI [Direction Centrale du Renseignement Interieur or secret service] he said. “The DCRI has in its hands, a certain number of elements and gives to a certain number of media, elements [of] information that is patchy, useless and coarse.

“We realise the DCRI is in a position to put into the public domain elements that can be prejudicial to the quality of the inquiry.”

A transcript of the broadcast also sees Reinhart asked if Renault is convinced the DCRI is somehow “settling accounts” with the automaker, a question the lawyer sidesteps, but answers with a hypothesis of his own.

“The DCRI is closely interested,” he said. “In reality, the counter-espionage [service] does not understand why for several months, Renault has been making enquiries on its own.”

Reinhart’s comments come the day after Renault chief operating officer Patrick Pelata, appealed for calm in the affair that continues to grip France.