In a significant development of the spying scandal engulfing Swedish furniture retail giant Ikea, Mediapart has exclusively obtained evidence that the managing director of Ikea France personally took part in an underhand espionage operation that illegally trawled for information into the personal life of one of the company’s senior staff. Documents accessed by Mediapart and published here reveal how Jean-Louis Baillot, head of the company’s French operations from 1996 to 2009, and who is now Ikea’s director for international commercial operations, was aware, approved of and encouraged the surveillance methods used by Ikea France security chief Jean-François Paris to hound and bait the company’s deputy director of communications and interior store planning, Virginie Paulin. Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg and Mathilde Mathieu report.
by Fabrice Arfi, Michaël Hajdenberg and Mathilde Mathieu
The rumour mill is working overtime in the French business world and at Renault, where the carmaker's CEO Carlos Ghosn is fighting to keep his job after the fiasco of false espionage allegations against three top executives which saw them fired on false pretences, and led to the resignation of the company's N°2, Patrick Pelata. Officially all is well again, but Ghosn now faces a fierce battle against those determined to have his head for other reasons, not least French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Martine Orange and Laurent Mauduit report on the malaise surrounding the man at the wheel of one of France's industrial giants.