Renault takes legal action over alleged spying
French car maker Renault has launched legal action for industrial espionage after it suspended three top managers who it reportedly suspected of leaking secrets about its new electric cars.
The company said on Thursday it had lodged a complaint for "industrial espionage, corruption, breach of trust, theft and handling stolen goods."
State prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin said the charges alleged that "elements concerning France's economic secrets" had been leaked "to a foreign power."
The French daily Le Figaro has reported that Chinese interests stood to benefit from spying on Renault's electric car programme, on which it is staking its future. China has angrily denied any involvement.
Renault last week suspended three senior managers -- Michel Balthazard, Matthieu Tenenbaum and Bertrand Rochette -- over suspicions they had leaked strategic information.
The three deny involvement and were not named in the company's judicial complaint on Thursday. Under the French judicial system prosecutors can investigate allegations without a defendant being named.
© 2011 AFP