A French court has found Ikea guilty of spying on staff

A French court has ruled Ikea pay a fine of 1 million euros և convict the former CEO of his French business for organizing a large-scale espionage operation that appeared among the employees.

The Versailles Criminal Court on Tuesday ruled that Ikea had used private investigators to use “fraudulent methods” to obtain information on employees and jobseekers from 2009 to 2012, according to Agence France-Presse.

Prosecutors have demanded a € 2 million fine from the world’s largest furniture retailer, the Ingka Group, as well as the imprisonment of Jean-Louis-Bilho, the former chief executive of a French subsidiary.

Bailo, who headed Ikea France from 1996 to 2009, was found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison with a fine of 50,000 euros.

“Mr. Bailo is very shocked by this verdict,” said Francois Saint-Pierre, a former executive lawyer. “He denies giving instructions to spy on Ikea employees and intends to appeal.”

The case sparked a lot of interest in France, although it focused on events that took place a decade ago, but it stemmed from tensions between employers’ unions, concerns over personal data abuse, and privacy concerns.

The scandal erupted in 2012 when police raided Ikea’s French headquarters in Yvelines, near Vere. Officials confiscated the documents and checked the computers after a preliminary investigation was opened into allegations of illegal surveillance by members of two trade unions.

The court found on Tuesday that the management had used the private security company Eirpace to illegally obtain police records and collect personal information.

In addition to Baylo’s two-year suspended sentence, Jean an-François Paris, who ran the risks, carried out mass inspections of employees for Ikea France from 2002 to 2012, was sentenced to 18 months probation and fined 10,000 euros, AFP reported.

Critics at the time said that Ikea’s secret culture had intensified due to its rapid expansion into new countries. The company faced a corruption scandal in Russia at about the same time as its problems in France.

But in the last decade, it has continued to open up, gaining a better idea of ​​its business balance sheet, first revealing its profits in 2010, and further explaining its complex organizational structure.

Following the decision on Tuesday morning, Ikea France said it had “apologized for this situation, which seriously undermined the company’s values ​​and ethical standards”, and “strongly condemned the behavior of its former employees”.

This article corrects the fact that to an-Louis Bayloon was the CEO of Ikea France from 1996 to 2009.

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