The former CEO of Ikea France, Jean-Louis Baillot, was given a two-year suspended jail term and €50,000 fine after the French subsidiary was found to have used private detectives and police officers to collect private data on staff.
The trial began on Monday in Versailles of former executives of the French arm of Swedish retailer IKEA, as well as the corporate entity itself, on charges of spying on the private lives of hundreds of staff, in a scandal first revealed by Mediapart eight years ago.
France's defence minister Florence Parly has confirmed that a French army lieutenant-colonel, whose identity was not released, has been arrested for passing secret information to Russia, which reportedly happened as he prepared to leave France to return to his post with NATO's southern command headquarters in Naples.
The Swedish furniture retail giant IKEA is accused of having set up a system of spying to obtain confidential information on job applicants, staff - including trade union representatives - and customers in France. Now, after eight years of investigation, judges have ordered that IKEA France should stand trial on spying charges in its own right as a corporation. Fifteen people, including two former chief executives of the French corporation, Jean-Louis Baillot and Stefan Vanoverbeke, are also to face trial. The allegations include claims that data on individuals was illegally obtained from French police files via police officers. Mediapart's legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports.
French prosecutors have recommended that the French subsidiary of Swedish home furnishings chain Ikea, several members of its former management and four French police officers should stand trial for their involvement in a system of espionnage targeting company staff and clients.
French IT firm Qosmos, specialised in mass-surveillance technology and which works on projects for France's intelligence services, is the subject of a judicial investigation launched in April into ‘complicity in acts of torture’. The probe centres on the Paris-based company’s involvement in a contract, led by an Italian company, to supply the Bashar al-Assad regime in war-torn Syria with a system to intercept, open and archive almost all email and other internet traffic flowing through the country. Qosmos says it eventually withdrew from the project for ethical reasons, when the key technology it provided for the project was not yet operational. But, as detailed in this joint report by Mediapart and Reflets.info, the history of the case raises more questions than it provides answers.
by Jérôme Hourdeaux and Reflets.info (Bluetouff et Kitetoa)
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