Renault’s Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn is coming under pressure to quit after the collapse of an investigation into alleged industrial espionage.
A dramatic climbdown and public apology has followed an admission that the three top executives fired by the French carmaker in January had not been selling secrets.
Carlos Ghosn said: “I was wrong, we were wrong, and after the conclusions given to us by the Paris prosecutor, it seems that we were cheated.”
The head of France’s Socialist Party believes Ghosn should take responsibility for the debacle. Martine Aubry said: “When an employee makes a mistake in a company, he does not have to apologise – he is out.”
Government spokesman Francois Baroin also hit out at how the matter had been handled by Renault, which is 15 percent state-owned. “We must take all the consequences … from the incredible amateurism, and the indignity, and the attack against these men,” Baroin said.
Thibault de Montbrial, the lawyer for one of the executives, Matthieu Tenenbaum, plainly wants compensation for his client: “We are now going to see whether Renault and my client have the same assessment of the worth of what Mr Tenenbaum has suffered – professionally, personally and in terms of his health – over the three absolutely terrifying months he’s been subjected to.”
Renault has apologised to the three falsely accused executives and offered to reinstate and compensate them.
A Renault security manager is now under investigation for suspected fraud over the spying allegations – the saga continues.