A voice for newcomers in Sweden

French prosecutors push for Ikea trial over spying charges

File photo: AP Photo/Jens Meyer/TT

Published: 11.Jan.2018 16:06 hrs

French prosecutors are pushing for Ikea France and 15 people, including police officials, to be put on trial on charges of spying on employees and customers, a source close to the inquiry said on Thursday.

Three former senior Ikea executives including two ex-CEOs are among those charged in an investigation that dates back to 2012, when the furniture giant was accused of paying for illegal access to police files.

Several Ikea stores across France were searched in connection with accusations that the company paid police for information on certain customers and employees, particularly workers involved in labour unions.

The Swedish brand's French unit is suspected of buying access to individuals' court and police records and bank details as part of efforts to collect as much information on them as possible.

Four police officials are among the 15 people who have been charged and may be facing trial, along with two former Ikea France chiefs, Jean-Louis Baillot and Stefan Vanoverbeke, and former CFO Dariusz Rychert.

An investigating judge in the Paris suburb of Versailles now has three months to decide to call a trial over illicit use of personal data and breach of confidentiality.

READ ALSO: Ikea asks customers to pee on their new ad

The information was allegedly taken from France's STIC file system, which tracks millions of names and personal information about criminals, victims and even witnesses, and handed to Ikea.

Media reports alleged that Ikea France requested information on employees including union members, the owners of certain car registrations and names associated with a list of mobile phone numbers.

In one case the company allegedly asked for personal information on a customer who was suing it for 4,000 euros.

Sofiane Hakiki, lawyer for the CGT and FO trade unions and several Ikea staff members, welcomed prosecutors' decision to ask for a trial. "We hope the case will be accepted by a judge," she told AFP.

Ikea France declined to comment on the decision, with the company's lawyer Emmanuel Daoud saying only: "Ikea France has cooperated with the judiciary since the start of this process."

In the wake of the allegations, Ikea France fired four employees, opened an internal inquiry and established a code of conduct to avoid a repeat of the scandal.

Read full article on The Local

More Stories

Anas Awad with his "Swedish family" told his story to The Local Voices

Sharing the best of The Local Voices

We told a lot of great stories in 2016. Did you get to read and share them all? READ
"It's not news to anyone that the council is divided on Syria," Sweden's Deputy UN Ambassador Carl Skau said ahead of the Security Council retreat in the Nordic Nation. READ
Experience the Swedish capital in full with these five suburban areas worth visiting, from the established to the up-and-coming. READ
A man at the centre of one of Iceland's biggest computer heists broke out of prison and is believed to have fled to Sweden – on the same flight as the Icelandic prime minister. READ
Here's how many Brits (and Americans) applied for and received citizenship in Sweden in the first months of 2018. READ
Photo: Erik Gerhardsson

'History will record how everyone reacted to the Syrian tragedy'

Erik, a 21-year-old Swedish volunteer, reflects on his experience helping refugees in Sweden and abroad. READ
Sweden's governing party the Social Democrats on Wednesday vowed to tighten labour immigration rules if they win the election in September. READ
A Malmö rabbi says he hopes an apology from two kids who threatened to bomb a Jewish centre can contribute to changing the city’s problems with anti-Semitism. READ
Sweden is responsible for some of the most successful and critically acclaimed games of recent years, attracting international talent to the country. READ
The leaders of Sweden and India spoke of strengthened cooperation between the two countries on areas like innovation and defence as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Nordic nation. READ

This Iranian teaches Swedish online to 10,000 followers

"I’m exporting Swedish to my homeland." READ