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Renault grapples with "nightmare" of industrial espionage scandal

Business Materials 6 January 2011 18:45
French car concern Renault continued Thursday to assess the damage after unconvering industrial espionage in its top executive ranks in what was called a "nightmare" by employees
Renault grapples with "nightmare" of industrial espionage scandal

French car concern Renault continued Thursday to assess the damage after unconvering industrial espionage in its top executive ranks in what was called a "nightmare" by employees dpa reported

Officials were tight-lipped as the company grappled with the situation after three top managers Wednesday were summarily dismissed over a possible leak of information about Renault's electrical car project.

"The employees consciously and intentionally put the company in danger," was a terse statement by Renault lawyer Christian Husson.

According to French media reports, one of the suspects even came from the ranks of the roughly 30-member team of directors directly answering to company chairman Carlos Ghosn.

In divulging the dismissal of the three top-level managers, Renault initially did not indicate which of the company's operations had been affected. But later press reports said it appeared that the electric battery-powered car project was the possible target.

Together with its strategic partner Nissan, Renault has already spent some 4 billion euros (5.3 billion dollars) in developing a battery-powered car.

The company was still uncertain who might have gained access to the sensitive information obtained through the espionage - whether a competing car company, or possibly a potential supplier of batteries who needed the inside technical information about Renault's plans.

"We have a feeling of living in a nightmare," the daily Le Figaro cited one Renault employee as saying.

For Industry Minister Eric Besson, the case could not be any more serious.

"The expression of economic warfare is appropriate here," he said, at the same time demanding that companies should carry out stricter security precautions

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