Spy case latest: French manufacturer says sorry to three suspended employees

Renault has convened an extraordinary board meeting after being forced to admit that it has wrongly accused three of its own employees of releasing details on its electric vehicles programme to rivals.

In a prepared statement released this afternoon, the firm says that its chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn, plus chief operating officer Patrick Pelata, “present their sincere apologies” to the three men, Michel Balthazard, Bertrand Rochette and Matthieu Tenenbaum.

Balthazard was the highest profile of the three men suspended in January. He had been a Renault employee for 30 years, and held the position of vice-president of advanced engineering. But Renault admitted today that all three men had been “wrongly accused in this affair”.

“They [Ghosn and Pelata] are committed that reparations be made to the three executives,” the statement continued, “and that their honour in the public eye be restored. They further acknowledge the serious personal harm that they and their families have suffered.” Renault says that Ghosn and Pelata will meet all three employees.

Ghosn has convened the extraordinary board meeting, amid mounting speculation that the scandal - and the subsequent confusion over the details and strength of the case - could yet claim a high-level casualty within Renault’s management.

Renault says it “will communicate” after the board meeting concludes.

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