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.
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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.