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Renault heirs sue France for nationalizing company

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12:16 CET+01:00

The heirs of auto magnate Louis Renault are suing the French state over the nationalisation of his company in the aftermath of World War II. Historians today disagree about the extent of Renault’s collaboration with the Nazis.

Renault heirs are to demand reparations in court on Wednesday for the nationalisation of the company in 1945, Le Figaro reports. They say their family received no compensation at the time and the move was unfair punishment for Louis Renault’s attitude during the war.

“No other French company was nationalised in this way,” said lawyer Thierry Levy in an interview with journalists. “some industrial leaders were condemned for collaborating with the Nazis, but their companies weren’t taken away.”

Louis Renault founded the auto company in 1898 with his brother, and was arrested in September 1944. He died a month later in prison without facing trial. At the time of his death, Renault owned 96.8 percent of his company, factories across France and offices on the Paris avenue Les Champs Elysées.

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Historians however disagree on Renault’s attitude during the war. Unlike auto manufacturers Michelin or Peugeot, the auto magnate did not build ties with the French Resistance. Historians however say the relationship between Renault and the Nazis has yet to be fully investigated.

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