Yesterday, the 'espionage' trial against Ikea started in France. The French branch of the furniture giant is accused of unlawfully collecting and disclosing personal data, and violating professional confidentiality between 2003 and 2009.
Apart from Ikea itself, fifteen people are on trial, including the Belgian ex-manager Stefan Vanoverbeke, several branch managers and four police officers. According to Belgian newspaper De Standaard, the Swedish furniture chain illegally obtained access to databases of the French police and collected confidential data on employees, job applicants and customers against payment. In 2012, the case got exposed after the French weekly Le Canard Enchainé published alleged email traffic between managers and private investigators.
The lawyer of Ikea France, Emmanuel Daoud, minimises the facts. According to him, it was not about spying, but rather about 'organisational weaknesses' within the company. Previously, he pointed out that the company launched an action plan following the breaking of the case, which included a complete redesign of the recruitment process when opening new stores. The trial ends on 2 April.