Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 3/09/2011 09:22:00 AM

Renault's Response in Alleged Trade Secret Theft Case Deemed Hasty by Wall Street Journal

By Todd

We blogged about this case upon the reports of the suspension of three key employees at Renault: They've since been dismissed by Renault.

The Wall Street Journal yesterday had a front-page piece that was fascinating in its reporting and coverage of the post-allegation developments in this Renault matter. The company, its CEO and Chief Operating Officer all look to have some egg on their face in that their original accusations are not exactly panning out in fact.

You need to read this piece - it is well written. We appreciated this reporting especially:

"The investigation led to three bank accounts, which Renault investigators assumed were the repository for cash received in exchange for corporate secrets. One had been opened in March 2009 in Switzerland and was funded by money coming from a firm in Cyprus, these people said. A second had been opened in February 2010 in Liechtenstein, and received money from another Cyprus-based company. This second account was used to transfer money to a third account, in Switzerland, via a Swiss company, these people added. It is unclear who alerted Renault to the existence of these accounts."

But, alas - this is also part of the piece:

"Two months [following the allegations], the investigation is looking more like the work of the Keystone Kops. There are growing signs that Renault pulled the trigger too fast, according to interviews with law-enforcement officials, executives, lawyers and outside consultants. So far, the French car company has come up with little proof, these people say. For example, police investigators found no secret bank accounts connected to the three managers, some of these people say."

We'll keep an eye on this one for you.


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