French Finance Minister: No China Angle to Renault Case

The minister, Christine Lagarde, denies suggestions of Chinese involvement in the alleged industrial espionage described by her Industry counterpart as “economic warfare”. Three men were fired from car manufacturer Renault, accused of attempting—unsuccessfully, the company says—to leak technologies related to electric vehicles. From The New York Times:

“I really don’t think that the Renault case has a Chinese angle,” Ms. Lagarde said during an interview. “I have zero indication.”

Ms. Lagarde was addressing one of the central mysteries of the case: Who was behind the industrial espionage? Renault filed a criminal complaint last Thursday with the Paris prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, saying the company had been the victim of “organized industrial espionage, corruption, breach of trust, theft and concealment.” The complaint did not cite “a foreign power” but rather “private persons,” Mr. Marin said ….

Ms. Lagarde said she had not seen Renault’s own investigations, but added: “Official intelligence reports suggest it is nothing to the effect of one or another country.”

Ms. Lagarde’s view on the involvement of China is at odds with some others. Bernard Carayon, a French lawmaker from the governing U.M.P. party and head of Parliament’s economic intelligence working group, said Jan. 7 that “reliable sources” had told him that a Chinese actor was involved.

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