PARIS – FRENCH Industry Minister Eric Besson on Thursday warned the country was facing ‘economic war’ following an industrial espionage scandal at automaker Renault.
‘Unfortunately, the affair appears serious,’ Mr Besson said on RTL radio, after discussing the issue with Renault management.
‘The expression ‘economic war’, while sometimes outrageous, for once is appropriate,’ he said, calling for improvements in industrial security at companies who receive public money.
‘It appears to concern the electric car, but I do not want to go further,’ said Mr Besson.
Renault said on Wednesday it had suspended three managers for leaking secrets about electric cars, with the company staking its future on environmentally friendly vehicles and aiming to produce them for the general market. — AFP
A French official, meanwhile, sought to play down the possibility of Chinese involvement in the matter, saying the government would wait for the results of an investigation.
In an interview published Saturday in the French newspaper Le Monde, Patrick Pelata, Renault’s chief operating officer, said that an internal investigation that began in August had led the company to conclude it was the target of “a system organized to collect economic, technological and strategic information to serve interests abroad.”
PARIS (AFP) – French automaker Renault suspects that top managers suspended for alleged industrial espionage were supplying details of the company’s electric cars to China, a newspaper and officials said Friday.
The daily Le Figaro cited “several internal sources” at the company as saying that Renault and the French secret service suspect Chinese involvement in the affair.
“Suspicions are indeed leading in that direction,” towards China, said Bernard Carayon, a lawmaker for President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UM party who has authored several specialist reports on economic intelligence.
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