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Renault Apologizes in Spy Case

Senior execs under fire; wrongly accused execs to get “reparations.”

by on Mar.15, 2011

Renault COO Patrick Pelata offers to resign.

Renault’s top two execs have apologized to three other senior managers wrongfully accused in what was initially billed as a Chinese spy case – but which now appears to have been a scam by members of the French automaker’s own security team.

Renault’s second-in-command offered to resign on Monday, while authorities question a corporate security official who could reveal the details of what is now seen as an internal fraud.  Meanwhile, the three executives fired after being accused of spying are now set to receive “reparations,” according to Renault.

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The carmaker’s top two executives, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn and Chief Operating Officer Daniel Pelata, said through a spokesperson that they “acknowledge the enormous personal harm that the (fired employees) and their families have suffered.”  As a result, “their honor in the public eye will be restored (and) reparations (will) be made.”

The mess began when Renault received an anonymous tip indicating the three managers, Michel Balthazard, Bertrand Rochette and Matthieu Tenenbaum, were secretly on the Chinese payroll and leaking information about Renault’s expansive electric vehicle program.  They were suspended on January 11, Renault claiming it had proof they were receiving “funds from a foreign source.”