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Renault apologises to staff sacked in spying scandal

Poison pen letters led to the dismissal of three members of the company’s electric car team amid allegations of spying and bribery.

Paris prosecutor Jean Claude Marin adresses reporters during a press conference held at Paris Court House, monday, March 14 2011
Paris prosecutor Jean Claude Marin adresses reporters during a press conference held at Paris Court House, monday, March 14 2011
Image: Christophe Ena/AP/Press Association Images via PA Images

CAR MANUFACTURER RENAULT has apologised to three employees it sacked after receiving poison pen letters from an anonymous informer alleging staff were selling secrets.

Three top executives – Michel Balthazard, director of advanced engineering; his deputy, Bertrand Rochette, and Matthiew Tenenbaum, deputy director of the electric cars division at the company – were dismissed amid allegations of spying and bribes.

The letters alleged that top members of Renault’s electric car team were taking bribes and Renault launched an investigation and then dismissed the three men, who protested their innocence, the BBC reports.

But this week the company has apologised to the men and issued a statement emphasising that it was committed to restoring “their honour in the public eye”.

In another move connected to the case, former defence intelligence officer Dominique Gevrey was arrested as he boarded a plane for the west African State of Guinea and later placed under judicial investigation for organised fraud. His lawyer insists he is innocent.

The case has brought up a raft of questions, including who the anonymous informer is – his identity is apparently only known to a Renault internal security official – and why he was paid money by Renault.

It has also been questioned why the company went public with the allegations despite not having more evidence.

The sacked staff could also launch legal proceedings related to their dismissal and it is said they may not return to their old jobs.

Read more at the BBC News website>

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