Illegal surveillance

Ikea France condemned for spying on its staff

Ikea France was looking into its employees, their criminal records, their banking situation... (Photo: Shutterstock)

Ikea France was looking into its employees, their criminal records, their banking situation... (Photo: Shutterstock)

The French subsidiary of the Swedish group spied on several hundred employees between 2009 and 2012. The criminal court in Versailles has just fined it one million euros. Its former CEO, Jean-Louis Baillot, was given a two-year suspended sentence.

Ikea France was fined one million euros by the criminal court in Versailles on Tuesday morning for spying on hundreds of its employees over the years.

According to the investigation, the French subsidiary of the Swedish giant called on the services of Eirpace, a company specialising in "business consultancy", to obtain information on some of its employees, in particular their criminal records, their banking situation, their lifestyle, etc. Through its networks, this company obtained information, for example, through the System for Processing Recorded Offences (Stic), which is reserved for the police.

Two years suspended prison sentence for the former CEO

In addition to the Ikea company, 15 defendants were prosecuted in this case, including former company executives, shop managers, police officers, etc.

Jean-Louis Baillot, CEO of Ikea France from 1996 to 2012, was convicted of receiving personal data by fraudulent means and sentenced to a two-year suspended prison term and a €50,000 fine. The prosecution had requested a prison sentence. Jean-Louis Baillot, who has always denied any mass surveillance, is "shocked", according to his lawyer, and plans to appeal.

Jean-François Paris, former risk manager of Ikea France from 2002 to 2012, has, for his part, acknowledged the facts. He said he had "followed an instruction from Jean-Louis Baillot" in 2007. He was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence and a €10,000 fine.

Although, according to the public prosecutor's office, these practices date back to the early 2000s, only those dating from the 2009-2012 period were tried--the others having exceeded the statute of limitations.