An inquiry was launched on Friday into industrial espionage at Renault as a result of the carmaker filing a legal complaint claiming that information had been passed to a rival foreign power.
The move follows the suspension last week of three Renault execs suspected of leaking information about the company’s electric vehicle program.
Its complaint was against ‘persons unknown,’ implying all those involved may not yet have been identified. But though Renault did not name the foreign power involved in its complaint, it did identify foreign private companies.
France has dubbed the case ‘economic warfare’ and is weighing up the implications of tightening up legislation to protect companies.
After a government source said intelligence services were looking into a possible connection with China, the case has threatened to harm relations between the two countries.
But the French government has played down a possible link to China, saying it is not accusing any one country of involvement.