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Renault boss was spy 'victim'

2011-04-19 10:46

CAPTAIN GHOSN: The Renault (and Nissan) boss has said previously that a captain should not jump ship in the midst of a storm.

PARIS, France - The man designated to lead Renault's internal probe into its industrial espionage fiasco said he views CEO Carlos Ghosn as an innocent victim of the affair.

The comments by Alain Bauer, a professor of criminology and one of two men in charge of the internal probe, are the latest sign that Ghosn is likely to survive after his trusted deputy Patrick Pelata was forced to resign over the scandal.

After it became clear that the three executives fired and accused of leaking information on electric vehicles had done nothing wrong, there had been speculation that Ghosn and his position atop the Renault-Nissan alliance could be vulnerable.

But officials of the French government, which owns 15 percent of the automaker, have indicated they have no desire for Ghosn to follow his deputy Patrick Pelata out the door, an impression reinforced by Bauer's comments.

"He subcontracted and delegated ... in fact Carlos Ghosn was a victim of an abuse of confidence in this affair, one more victim," Bauer told RTL radio.

Asked if it was understandable that Ghosn had not resigned, Bauer said: "I understand the saying according to which the ship's captain doesn't step down in the midst of the storm, that I understand very well."

Ghosn had used this phrase to defend himself in a newspaper interview last week, saying that a captain should not jump ship but should help it traverse the storm.

Bauer, who was appointed a week ago to lead the internal probe along with lawyer and former corporate executive Alain Juillet, said he expected it to be completed by July, 2011.

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