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IKEA France executives held over spying allegations

AFP

Two senior executives at IKEA France were being held by police Tuesday in a continued investigation over allegations that the Swedish furniture company illegally spied on staff and customers, officials said.

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Officials say senior executives of IKEA France are in police custody over allegations that they paid for access to secret police files to spy on employees and customers.

French officials close to the case said IKEA France CEO Stefan Vanoverbeke and its finance chief, Dariusz Rycher, were apprehended Monday and questioned for a second day Tuesday.

The officials were not authorized to speak publicly about the case. Under French law the men must be freed within 24 hour or formally charged.

The investigation into the spying at the French subsidiary of the Swedish furniture giant began in April 2012 when satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné published emails between IKEA’s Paris office and a security company Surete International.

The emails revealed that IKEA was seeking access to police STIC files, kept in a database with millions of names and personal information about crime perpetrators, victims and even witnesses.

IKEA allegedly asked for information on employees, including union members, and a customer suing the company. Two unions have since filed complaints against IKEA, accusing them of spying on hundreds of employees and customers over at least five years.

In response to the investigation, IKEA France suspended and later fired its risk management director, a former human resources director, a former financial director and a former managing director. The workers were not named.

The company has also instituted a code of conduct in response to the investigation.
A former paragon of good social policy, IKEA has faced several years of bad press.

In 2010, employees at 23 of their 26 stores in France went on strike in hopes of better pay. In 2012, IKEA was criticized for removing images of women and girls from the Saudi version of its catalogue. Then, in September 2013, a book on IKEA revealed a bitter family feud in which founder Ingvar Kamprad was forced to hand over billions of dollars to his sons.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

 

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