Louis Renault heirs file suit against the French state image

The grandchildren of Louis Renault, founder of the Renault company, have filed suit against the French state, challenging the nationalization of the company in 1945.

Renault’s heirs demand the return of the carmaker to the family, as Renault SA was nationalized after Louis Renault was labeled a Nazi collaborator, Agence France Presse reports. Founded in 1898 by Louis Renault and his brothers, the company was controlled by the Germans during the Nazi occupation of France in the Second World War. During those years, Renault manufactured equipment for German soldiers.

Labeled a Nazi collaborator, Louis Renault died shortly after the Allies liberated Paris and before the could be prosecuted. The company was then nationalized, with the French state still holding a 15 percent share of Renault.

Renault’s seven grandchildren began the action after the introduction of a new legal rule that allows plaintiffs to challenge the constitutionality of legislation. According to their lawyer, the nationalization was a violation of fundamental legal and property rights and therefore his clients deserve compensation.

But Jean-Paul Teissonniere, a lawyer representing a union that opposes the move, said he was „stunned by the audacity of the Renault heirs.” He motivated that during the war much of Renault’s production went to the enemy and the company did not help in any way the French Resistance. The court is expected to give a verdict on January 11.