Lawyers acting for another of Renault‘s sacked executives supposedly connected with the industrial espionage case, have filed a false accusation claim as the automaker prepares to go on French national television to discuss the case.
Despite Renault firmly declining to name any of the three executives allegedly involved with the affair that has stayed front page news in France, a lawyer acting for Michel Balthazard confirmed to just-auto an accusation complaint had been made.
“We have submitted a false accusation [claim],” Balthazard’s lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur told just-auto from Paris. “He denies everything of course.”
Balthazard is one of three executives sacked by Renault following unproven accusations of industrial espionage, with colleague Bertrand Rochette filing a defamation complaint to be heard on 4 April.
Renault is to fight its own corner however, with news that president and CEO Carlos Ghosn is to appear on television station TF1’s flagship news programme ‘Le journal de 20h’ this Sunday (23 January) evening.
“He will talk about the situation of the three executives – there will certainly be questions on this matter,” a Renault spokeswoman in Paris told just-auto.
Both Balthazard and Rochette have conducted a media blitz, either personally or through lawyers, touring French broadcast studios to protest their innocence.
“We are putting in a complaint because Michel Balthazard has been wrongly accused,” Sur told French radio. “Renault has made him redundant while he had 30 years in the business – made redundant wrongly because he would have received money from abroad – when you accuse [someone of] something so serious you should be in a position to prove [it].
“Michel Balthazard’s honour has been very seriously attacked – this is the false accusation [claim].”
The Tribunal de Commerce de Nanterre confirmed to just-auto yesterday (19 January) both Renault and Rochette must attend a hearing in April near Paris, following the defamation filing by lawyers acting for the executive.