RENAULT APOLOGIZES FOR WRONGFULLY firing three executives connected with the company's electric-car program and is promising to make reparations after one of the auto maker's two internal security officers was arrested and charged with “organized fraud.”
The three executives reportedly were accused by the company for allegedly selling corporate secrets.
“Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer, and Patrick Pelata, chief operating officer, present their sincere apologies and regrets, personally and in the name of, to Messrs. (Michel) Balthazard, (Bertrand) Rochette and (Matthieu) Tenenbaum, who were wrongly accused in this affair,” a company statement says.
The statement, issued ahead of an unscheduled meeting of the board of directors in Paris, says“is committed that reparations be made to the three executives and that their honor in the public eye be restored.”
The company further acknowledges “the serious personal harm that (the executives) and their families have suffered.”
The prosecuting attorney in Paris, Jean-Claude Marin, says the three executives do not have secret bank accounts in Switzerland and Lichtenstein, as Renault's security officer had charged.
“We are in the presence of a possible intelligence scam,” Marin says of the accusations against Dominique Gevrey, a former military intelligence officer now charged with scamming Renault.
Gevrey was stopped recently at Charles de Gaulle airport as he prepared to travel to Africa. His superiors, Remi Pagnie and Marc Tixador, were detained for questioning by the French equivalent of the FBI, but released afterward. Gevrey was taken before a Paris judge and charged.
Gevrey earlier told Renault a source he declined to name could find the foreign bank accounts of the three Renault executives who had been denounced for spying in an anonymous letter sent to the auto maker last August.
Gevrey later turned over information from the unnamed “source,” saying Balthazard, Rochette and Tenenbaum had bank accounts in Switzerland and Lichtenstein that were being funded in a complex way by a foreign source.
Renault sent the three executives home Jan. 3 over their objections of innocence and fired them Jan. 11.