Almost seven years after the outbreak of the Volkswagen (VW) scandal, five years after the start of the French diesel procedure, four years after the opening of a judicial investigation against Renault, the French manufacturer has been indicted for deception by the investigating judges of the public health pole of the Paris court on Tuesday, June 8, the automotive group announced in a press release.
This is the first indictment of a car group by the French justice in this sprawling affair known as the “dieselgate”.
Renault is accused of having installed a device in its diesel vehicles to detect the phases of the homologation test. The depollution would have been maximum during the official control but more necessarily operative for a current use. In other words, the justice accuses the French manufacturer of behaving like VW, which admitted in 2015 to having used faking software intended to facilitate the passage of homologation tests.
For the penal code, this would constitute a “Deception of the substantial qualities and the checks carried out” aggravated by the fact that the goods are dangerous to health – air pollution kills 40,000 in France per year, according to the health security agency Public Health France. This offense is severely punished: up to seven years’ imprisonment and a 750,000 euros fine for those responsible, and, for the company, a maximum of 10% of the turnover to be paid, i.e. 4.3 billion euros in the case of Renault.
The company denies
For the moment, specifies the builder, justice has contented itself with claiming a deposit of 20 million euros including 18 million for the possible payment of damages and fines. Renault also had to provide a bank guarantee in the amount of 60 million euros to compensate for potential damages.
Basically, the company fiercely denies any criminal act. “Renault will bring to justice, in the greatest transparency, all the explanatory elements showing that it has not committed any deception, Gilles Le Borgne, the engineering director of the diamond group, told some journalists on Tuesday. Renault did not deceive anyone and did not commit any offense. “
This new stage of the procedure is not, however, necessarily a disaster for Renault. “The company, with this indictment, will finally be able to assert its rights and present its arguments”, welcomes Mr. Le Borgne.
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