An official inquiry has been launched by French state prosecutors to look into allegations of industrial espionage after Renault filed a legal complaint claiming that information was passed to a foreign power. The investigation is now in the hands of France's domestic intelligence service, DCRI.
Paris prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said that Renault’s complaints include counts of organized theft, aggravated breach of trust and passing intelligence to a foreign power.
Three of Renault’s executives were suspended last week due to suspicion that they leaked information related to the electric vehicle program that the carmaker is investing heavily in.
Renault said that it had found that these executives committed serious misconduct detrimental to its "strategic, technological and intellectual assets." The complaint was filed against "persons unknown," indicating that there may be involved persons that have yet to be identified.
Renault didn’t name the foreign power but it did indicate the names of certain foreign private companies, according to Renault's lawyer Jean Reinhart. Although Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata talked about the existence of an "organized international network," he said that its key electric vehicle technology secrets remain safe.
It’s believed that it will take months before we get some clarity to this case. In fact, Reinhart said in an interview with Le Parisien that an investigation of this category would last at least six months. [via reuters]