Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Over 70 killed in Nigeria bus station terror attack

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornagraphy without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

ENCORE!

“Booty Looting” memory and mediums

Read more

WEB NEWS

Another Google Glass wearer attacked in San Francisco

Read more

LIFESTYLES

Sustainable cuisine

Read more

DEBATE

Eastern Ukraine: the escalation (part 2)

Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • Putin says Ukraine 'on brink of war' as Kiev evicts separatists

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • Deadly fire rips through Chile’s Valparaiso for third day running

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

  • Bluefin-21 'mini-sub' to redeploy for Malaysian jet

    Read more

  • Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

    Read more

  • French police begin mass DNA test in hunt for school rapist

    Read more

  • Guardian, Washington Post win Pulitzers for NSA revelations

    Read more

  • France looks to lift ailing economy with business-friendly diplomacy

    Read more

France

French intelligence agency to investigate Renault espionage claims

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-14

French state prosecutors have asked the country's domestic intelligence service to investigate allegations of industrial espionage targeting French carmaker Renault, in a case that has prompted one cabinet minister to talk of "economic warfare".

REUTERS - French state prosecutors launched an inquiry into industrial espionage at Renault on Friday after the carmaker filed a legal complaint alleging information was passed to a foreign power.

France's domestic intelligence service, DCRI, has now been charged with the investigation.

Renault had lodged a complaint on counts of organised theft, aggravated breach of trust and passing intelligence to a foreign power on Thursday, Paris prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said earlier.

The judicial move followed the suspension last week of three executives Renault suspects of leaking information about the high-profile electric vehicle programme in which it is investing heavily.

The carmaker said on Thursday it had discovered serious misconduct detrimental to its "strategic, technological and intellectual assets."

Its complaint was against "persons unknown", implying all those involved may not yet have been identified.

Renault did not name the foreign power in its complaint, but did identify foreign private companies, Renault's lawyer Jean Reinhart said on Thursday.

Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata has warned of an "organised international network" but said key electric vehicle technology secrets are safe.

Guessing games

France could now be waiting months for clarity on a case that has gripped the country since the executives were suspended. Reinhart told Le Parisien on Friday an investigation of this kind would last at least six months.

France has dubbed the case "economic warfare" and is considering tightening up legislation to protect companies.

The scandal has threatened to harm improving relations between France and China, after a government source said intelligence services were looking into a possible connection with China as part of initial checks before the official probe.

The French government has played down the possibility of a link to China, saying it is not accusing any one country of involvement, while China has denied any link to the case.

Thibault De Montbrial, lawyer for Matthieu Tenenbaum, deputy head of Renault's EV programme and the youngest of the three executives, told Reuters on Friday he did not know the identity or the nationality of the company cited in the complaint.

"I can respond to accusations when they are precise, but I am not going to play guessing games," de Montbrial said. Tenenbaum is "still stunned by the accusations ... but at least things are progressing ... When they ask him questions, at least he will know what the questions are about."

Xavier Thouvenin, the lawyer representing Michel Balthazard, vice president of advance engineering and a management committee member, said his client was waiting for notice of his dismissal, which would likely give more details of the claims against them.

Under French law, Renault had to wait 48 hours to send dismissal letters after the hearing on Tuesday.

"The letter ... must specify 'you have done this and that' ... It's difficult for him, he's been there for 30 years, so it's a bit of a shock," Thouvenin said.
 

Date created : 2011-01-14

Comments

COMMENT(S)