The prosecution requested a 2 million euros fine against the subsidiary in France of the Swedish furniture giant, which incurs a fine of up to 3.75 million euros.
The French subsidiary of Ikea, accused alongside former officials of having illegally spied on several hundred employees between 2009 and 2012, will be determined on Tuesday June 15 when the Versailles Criminal Court will deliver its judgment, eagerly awaited by some 120 civil parties. “The challenge” of this trial is the one “The protection of our private lives against a threat, that of mass surveillance”, said prosecutor Paméla Tabardel on March 30, asking that the criminal response be a “Strong message” sent to “All commercial companies”.
The prosecution requested a 2 million euros fine against the subsidiary in France of the Swedish furniture giant, which incurs a fine of up to 3.75 million euros. A year in prison has been claimed against a former CEO from 1996 to 2009, Jean-Louis Baillot, risking up to ten years in prison and a 750,000 euros fine. The prosecutor, on the other hand, asked for the release of Stefan Vanoverbeke, CEO of Ikea France from 2010 to 2015, against whom there is no “No material element”, according to her.
During the two weeks of a sometimes heated trial in Yvelines, Ikea France was tried alongside fifteen other defendants, former company directors, store managers, police officers and the boss of a private investigative company. . They blamed each other for accusations, including the unlawful collection and disclosure of personal information or breach of professional secrecy.
A “surveillance system”
Revealed by the press and then investigated from 2012, this case brought to light, according to the prosecution, “A surveillance system” of employees and customers. Ikea France and its leaders at the time are suspected of having illegally inquired about their criminal record, their lifestyle or their heritage via a company “In business advice”, Eirpace, who allegedly drew this confidential data from police files. The civil parties, including many unions, asked through the voice of their lawyers for a “Exemplary judgment” and several million euros in damages.
The prosecutor did “Not once uttered the word “Generalized espionage system”, stressed to AFP Emmanuel Daoud, the lawyer of Ikea France, having pleaded for the release. Jean-François Paris, the former “Mr.Security” of Ikea France from 2002 to 2012, recognized at the helm of “Mass checks” of employees. He said he used the services of Eirpace, headed by Jean-Pierre Fourès, to whom he sent lists of people “to test”.
A former member of general intelligence, the latter is notably accused of having had recourse to the STIC (System for the treatment of observed offenses) through the police. At the helm, he explained that he had used “imagination and ingenuity” to unearth this data legally, with a self-confidence and a malice which had provoked frank hilarity during the hearing. “The returns from Mr. Fourès’ research do not make it possible to establish a link with the police files”, estimated the advice of Jean-François Paris, Etienne Bataille, thus clearing his client of any request for illegal research.
The prosecution requested three years in prison against Jean-François Paris, two of which were suspended. In court, he repeated that he had followed an instruction from the former CEO Jean-Louis Baillot, which the latter contested. Jean-Louis Baillot’s counsel, Me François Saint-Pierre, urged the court to “Be interested in material evidence” rather than “variable testimony”, arguing that the file is empty of any email exchanged between Jean-François Paris and his client concerning the activities entrusted to Eirpace. Against Jean-Pierre Fourès, the public prosecutor requested one year in prison. His lawyer, Marc François, pleaded for the release, arguing that “Out of 18 stores and 338 names (transmitted), only 20 had been passed to STIC”.
Asked by AFP, Ingka Group, the main branch of Ikea franchise stores that oversees Ikea France, insisted that “All the elements of this file concern(have) only Ikea France ».