Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Five children among seven killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

France

Renault prepared for staff suicides over spying scandal

Video by Luke BROWN

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-10-13

More than a year after French carmaker Renault found itself embroiled in an industrial espionage scandal, new documents show that the company had prepared statements in the event that the three employees blamed in the case committed suicide.

More than one year ago, French carmaker Renault found itself embroiled in a high-profile industrial espionage scandal. Three executives were fired, but the case turned out to be bogus, and in a desperate attempt to put the whole sordid affair behind them, the company issued a public apology to its former employees.

It appears, however, that the story is far from over. New documents have emerged showing that Renault had prepared statements in the event that the scandal drove the three employees concerned to kill themselves.

Executives Michel Balthazard, Bertrand Rochette and Mathieu Tenenbaum were dismissed from Renault in January of last year on suspicions that they had leaked information on the company’s electric cars to rivals. Although wrongly accused, the three found themselves at the heart of a very public scandal, with little recourse to defend themselves.

Apparently aware of the possible consequences, Renault’s communications director took action. Two statements were prepared in the event of the “inevitable” – one for a botched suicide attempt, the other for a successful one.

Strain on executives

The documents, which French radio station France Info published on their website Friday, showed that Renault was not only fully aware that the strain of the situation might drive its employees to suicide, but also its apparent acceptance of what it saw as a certainty.

Written in dry, clinical terms, the two statements varied little in their content. The first, which was to be issued in the event of “option 1”, in other words a failed suicide attempt, read: “One of the three executives laid off on January 3, 2011, attempted to end his life on (date).”

The second, or “option 2”, was only slightly modified: “One of the three executives laid off on January 3, 2011, ended his life on (date).”

The statement then went on to convey the company’s regret over the tragic incident.

“The entire company has been deeply shaken by the gravity of what has happened… Ever since the beginning of the case, Renault has sought to protect its executives’ identities out of strict respect for those concerned. Faced with this upsetting event, we intend to maintain our position and make no comment…”

In the event of an actual death, an additional line was to be added, saying “our thoughts are with Mr. XXX’s family”.

All that was left to do was fill in the appropriate blanks.

A company spokeswoman said on Friday that Renault communications staff who prepared the press releases were simply doing their job. "We had to prepare for different scenarios within a crisis communications framework."

Date created : 2012-10-12

  • AUTO INDUSTRY

    Renault loses No. 2 man over industrial spying scandal

    Read more

  • AUTO INDUSTRY

    Renault apologises over spying claim

    Read more

  • AUTO INDUSTRY

    Renault staff grilled over spying claims

    Read more

COMMENT(S)