Yet another twist in the tale of corporate espionage that’s been gripping France – it may be complete fiction. In an interview with Le Figaro, an executive from Renault cast doubt on the accusations that spurred the dismissal of three of its executives and threatened a diplomatic row with China.
Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata told the newspaper “a certain number of elements lead us to doubt”, saying the company had two theories.
He’s quoted as saying: “Either we are confronted with a case of espionage and a senior security executive is protecting his source despite everything…or Renault is the victim of a manipulation, which we don’t know the nature of but which could be a fraud.”
France’s Finance Minister Christine Lagarde warned of consequences if these newfound doubts prove true.
The case has strained relations between Renault — which is 15 percent state-owned — and the government, as the carmaker
came under fire for not informing authorities of its suspicions soon enough and carrying out its own investigation first.
Bottom Line: France is facing severe political embarrassment after carmaker Renault threw doubt on the spying accusations that shook the company to its core and threatened a diplomatic spat with China.