Failed Ikea bribe leaves man jailed in Moscow

A Turkish national was convicted in a Moscow court on bribery and extortion charges and sentenced to five years behind bars for helping a Swedish executive at retail giant Ikea extort a bribe, Russian police said.

Failed Ikea bribe leaves man jailed in Moscow

Okan Yunalan was sentenced to five years for his participation in a scheme to extort a bribe of 6.5 million roubles ($198,393), the interior ministry said in a statement.

Police are still looking for the other two suspects, which include former Ikea executive Carl Ola.

Yunalan will spend his jail term in a prison colony, the police said. It was not clear in the statement when the hearing took place.

Yunalan was arrested in April 2011 red-handed in a Moscow coffee shop receiving a bribe of $255,000 from a businessman who was interested in renting space in Ikea’s Mega shopping centre south of Moscow.

According to the investigation, he was acting in the interests of Ola, who headed Ikea’s Russian subsidiary that handles real estate. Ikea has issued little comment only confirming that its former employees are under investigation.

Police previously said that Ola, who is accused of orchestrating the plot, and a second alleged accomplice, another Turkish national, were abroad and Russia was requesting extradition.

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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.