PARIS (Bloomberg) -- French prosecutors pressed fraud charges against a Renault SA security manager and sidelined the carmaker's espionage claims that led to the dismissal of three senior executives.
The Paris prosecutor opened a formal investigation into "organized fraud" and recommended that Dominique Gevrey be kept in detention after two days of questioning, said a Paris court official, who asked not to be identified in accordance with policy.
The probe will not address Renault's original spying claims, which remain on file until the case concludes, the official said.
"Renault wants the whole truth to come out and will repair any injustice that has been done," company spokeswoman Frederique Le Greves said by telephone, declining to comment further until the Paris Chief Prosecutor publishes a statement on the case, expected Monday.
Renault dismissed upstream development chief Michel Balthazard and two other executives in January after its internal probe concluded they had received payments from Chinese companies via foreign accounts.
The company paid 250,000 euros ($347,000) for information about the accounts without knowing who supplied it, company attorney Jean Reinhart said March 9.
Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata told Le Figaro last week that he may have been misled over the evidence, pledging that Renault would hold management accountable "right up to me" if the three executives were cleared of selling secrets.
Balthazard, his subordinate Bertrand Rochette and deputy electric-car program chief Matthieu Tenenbaum have consistently denied the allegations since their dismissal in January, when Renault lodged its espionage complaint with prosecutors.
The three have also filed criminal defamation claims. Later the same month, CEO Carlos Ghosn said he had personally overseen the internal probe and its "multiple" findings of espionage by the three executives.
"If there were no certainties about this, we wouldn't be where we are now," he said Jan. 23 on TF1 television.
The carmaker last week publicly ordered Gevrey and his colleague Marc Tixador to reveal the source of the banking information, after police failed to find any trace of the alleged accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, where legal authorities cooperated with the investigation.
Tixador and Renault Security Director Remi Pagnie were also questioned by police over the weekend and released without charge overnight, the court official said Sunday.
Gevrey, a former French intelligence agent, was arrested on March 11 at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport as he prepared to board a flight to an African country, the official said.