French minister Besson against "destabilizing Renault"

PARIS (Reuters) - French Industry Minister Eric Besson said on Sunday he did not want to destabilize carmaker Renault <RENA.PA> when asked if chief executive Carlos Ghosn should step down over a now debunked espionage scandal.

"As industry minister, I hear the voice of the people asking for punishment, but the industry minister's greater concern at this time is not to destabilize Renault any further," Besson told RFI radio in an interview.

He said Ghosn played a key role in Renault's alliance with Japanese carmaker Nissan, and was also facing a major industrial challenge with the launch of electric cars.

Renault admitted this month it had wrongly dismissed three senior executives after it had been tricked into believing they had sold vital know-how on the electric car project to third parties, possibly involving China.

(Reporting by Vicky Buffery; Editing by Paul Taylor)