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Dated: 04 May 2010

Michelin Executive Stands Trial


Marwan Arbache, previously an executive at the French tyre giant Michelin was put on trial yesterday. He is accused of conspiring to sell company secrets to one of Michelin’s biggest rivals – Bridgestone.

If found guilty Marwan Arbache could faces a maximum 10-year jail sentence as well as a substantial fine.
The trial focuses around on an email that Mr Arbache is alleged to have sent back around three years ago to the officials within the Japanese tyre manufacturer offering to sell secrets.

Bridgestone informed Michelin of the incident and ultimately aided the French company in catching Mr Abache. The accused was then arrested in January 2008. By that point he had offered to sell company secrets for around €115,000.

The former executive who – before being arrested – had worked with Michelin for just over seven years, has been officially charged with supplying information to a foreign company that could have "undermined the country's fundamental interests", violating trademark secrets and breach of trust.

Mr Arbache’s was caught by Michelin security officials who posed as Japanese clients in a sting operation named "Operation Fukuda".

However, lawyers defending Mr Arbache have argued that as no secret documents actually fell into Bridgestone’s hands he cannot be found guilty. They also claim that their client did had no intention of following through with the deal.

A verdict has yet to be reached.

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