France talks tough over Renault 'spy' debacle

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France talks tough over Renault 'spy' debacle

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Top French ministers have said they will see to it that those responsible for the Renault industrial espionage debacle are dealt with.

After meeting with Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn, Finance minister Christine Lagarde and Industry Minister Eric Besson said they will pay close attention to organisational reform and individual responsibility at Renault.

The French state, which owns 15 percent of Renault, said it wanted a thorough and swift investigation.

It is not clear if Ghosn’s job is on the line. He has apologised to the three Renault executives who were wrongly fired in January following a botched investigation into claims they had sold electric car secrets, possibly to a foreign government.

The affair has embarrassed Paris and briefly caused tensions with Beijing after a French government source said investigators were following up a possible link with China.

Renault bosses pledged on Monday to forgo their bonuses after the Paris prosecutor said the espionage case was unfounded. As well as apologising to the falsely accused executives Renault has offered to reinstate and compensate them.

The three men denied wrongdoing from the start and are suing the carmaker.

A Renault security manager has been placed under investigation for suspected fraud concerning the spying allegations