IKEA found guilty, fined $1.2 mln in French employee spy case

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A French court on Tuesday ordered IKEA to pay a 1 million euros ($1.21 million) fine in a spy case involving its employees, as the world’s biggest furniture retailer was found guilty of storing employee data it obtained improperly.

The French branch of the Swedish company was accused of snooping on its workers over several years, and breaching their privacy by reviewing records of their bank accounts and sometimes using fake employees to write up reports on staff.

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Prosecutors had been pushing for a 2 million euro fine against the firm, which is owned by the Ingka Group. IKEA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The flatpack furniture firm’s former chief executive in France, Jean-Louis Baillot, was also found guilty in the case and handed a two-year suspended prison sentence. Judges also fined him 50,000 euros for storing personal data.

The allegations centered on the 2009-2012 period, although prosecutors said the spy tactics began in the early 2000s.

Several store managers and employees in human resources as well as a private investigator and police officers were among those facing allegations.

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