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IKEA SPYING SCANDAL

FRANCE

Ikea bosses sacked over France spying scandal

Swedish furniture giant Ikea said Friday it was sacking four current and former managers at its French subsidiary over allegations that they used illegal police files to spy on staff and customers.

Ikea bosses sacked over France spying scandal

“A former managing director of Ikea France, a former human resources director, a former financial director and the current risk management director of Ikea France will leave their jobs and Ikea,” a statement said.

The firings are because of “practices against values and ethical standards that have unfortunately been noted within Ikea France,” it said.

French prosecutors in April launched a criminal probe following allegations that Ikea paid for illegal access to secret police files to gain information about employees, clients and even people who came near its property.

Ikea’s statement said that it “continues to provide its complete support to the judiciary” and has taken measures to prevent a repeat of the alleged crimes.

The statement did not name the sacked employees.

When the scandal first came to light Ikea France suspended three managers: former managing director Jean-Louis Baillot, risk management head Jean-Francois Paris and former human resources manager Claire Hery.

Satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine broke the story in February by publishing what it said were emails between Paris and Yann Messian of security company Surete International about getting access to police STIC files.

The controversial STIC file system has been criticized for being an unreliable database of millions of names and personal information about crime perpetrators, victims and even witnesses.

The newspaper said that Surete International offered access to the files for 80 euros (about $100) a time, as well as to a database of vehicle owners.

The report quoted emails requesting information on employees, including union members, on the names associated with a list of mobile phone numbers and asking to know who were the owners of certain car registrations.

Ikea France allegedly asked for police files on a customer who was suing the company for 4,000 euros and for the name of the owner of a car that approached the site of a future shop.

Former management at Surete International, which was wound up in 2011, have denied responsibility, instead blaming a disgruntled former employee.

AFP/The Local

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IKEA

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.

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