Renault CEO Ghosn targeted in French diesel probe

Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:13pm EDT
 
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By Gilles Guillaume and Laurence Frost

PARIS (Reuters) - France's consumer fraud watchdog told prosecutors that Renault boss Carlos Ghosn should be held responsible for the carmaker's suspected diesel emissions cheating, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

The comments were included in a dossier submitted last November by the finance ministry's DGCCRF anti-fraud body, the source said. The agency announced at the time it had found "suspected breaches" of French law by Renault, and prosecutors opened a formal investigation two months later.

Renault shares fell 3.7 percent on Wednesday after more details of the watchdog's allegations were published by daily Liberation.

The carmaker has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any offence. It was not immediately available to comment on Wednesday and Ghosn could not be reached for comment. The finance ministry declined to comment.

Following Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) exposure in 2015 for U.S. diesel test-cheating, several European countries launched their own investigative test programs.

They found on-road nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions more than 10 times above regulatory limits - for some GM, Renault and Fiat Chrysler models - and widespread use of devices that reduce exhaust treatment in some conditions.

The French test program, overseen by an investigating committee, has so far led to action against Renault and three others: PSA Group, Fiat Chrysler and VW.

In its Renault submission, the DGCCRF emphasized Ghosn's managerial responsibility, the judicial source said, confirming other French media reports on Wednesday.   Continued...

 
Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn delivers a speech during the official presentation of the new Renault RS16 car at the company's research center, the Technocentre, in Guyancourt, near Paris, France, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier