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Renault fraud: More workers quizzed

2011-03-14 20:09

INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE: Two more Renault workers were questioned as the spy drama facing the manufacturer continues to unravel.

 

A Renault security manager is under investigation on suspicion of fraud, an official at the Paris prosecutor's office said, as an allegation of industrial espionage at the automaker continues to unravel.

Dominique Gevrey, arrested by police on Friday, March 11, 2011 and questioned over the weekend by France's DCRI domestic intelligence agency, was placed in detention as requested by the prosecutor.

Gevrey and a second security manager, Marc Tixador, are believed to be the only people who know the identity of the person on whose information Renault based its spy probe, the automaker's lawyer, Jean Reinhart, has said.

Tixador and Renault's security head, also held for questioning over the weekend, were released on Sunday.

"No charges have been filed against them," a police source said.

FIRED EXECUTIVES


Renault fired three executives and lodged a legal complaint in January, 2011, over suspected spying at its electric-vehicle programme amid fears that information was leaked to a foreign power but the automaker has since admitted it may have been tricked.

Key to the espionage investigation was a probe into the possible existence of bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the final results of which were expected around March 20, 2011.

The fired executives have all denied any wrongdoing and are taking legal action against Renault. If no evidence of bank accounts is found a board meeting could quickly be called, a source close to Renault told Reuters.

Chief operating officer Patrick Pelata hinted his own job could be at risk if the case proves unfounded when he said the company would accept all the consequences "up to the highest level of the company, that is to say up to myself".

French finance minister Christine Lagarde also said Renault, 15 percent state-owned, "must face all the consequences".


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