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By Henry Samuel
The Sydney Morning Herald
January 10, 2011
PARIS: The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has ordered his country's
intelligence service to investigate whether China is behind suspected
industrial espionage at Renault.
While no judicial inquiry has been opened, a source at the Elysee Palace
said the Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence was
''investigating a Chinese link'' after the car maker suspended three
senior executives for ''very serious faults''. The potential connection
to China has emerged as a vice-premier, Li Keqiang, begins a European
The three Renault executives, one of whom is on the company's management
committee, were removed after an investigation into the leaking of
secrets about the company's electric vehicle program. Renault has said
industrial espionage poses a serious threat to its ''strategic assets''.
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The Industry Minister, Eric Besson, said France was facing ''economic
war'' over the case of Renault, which is 15 per cent government-owned. A
presidential source said the government had warned of an ''overall
risk'' to French industry.
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