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IKEA SPYING SCANDAL

FRANCE

Ikea bosses sacked over France spying scandal

Swedish furniture giant Ikea said Friday it was sacking four current and former managers at its French subsidiary over allegations that they used illegal police files to spy on staff and customers.

Ikea bosses sacked over France spying scandal

“A former managing director of Ikea France, a former human resources director, a former financial director and the current risk management director of Ikea France will leave their jobs and Ikea,” a statement said.

The firings are because of “practices against values and ethical standards that have unfortunately been noted within Ikea France,” it said.

French prosecutors in April launched a criminal probe following allegations that Ikea paid for illegal access to secret police files to gain information about employees, clients and even people who came near its property.

Ikea’s statement said that it “continues to provide its complete support to the judiciary” and has taken measures to prevent a repeat of the alleged crimes.

The statement did not name the sacked employees.

When the scandal first came to light Ikea France suspended three managers: former managing director Jean-Louis Baillot, risk management head Jean-Francois Paris and former human resources manager Claire Hery.

Satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine broke the story in February by publishing what it said were emails between Paris and Yann Messian of security company Surete International about getting access to police STIC files.

The controversial STIC file system has been criticized for being an unreliable database of millions of names and personal information about crime perpetrators, victims and even witnesses.

The newspaper said that Surete International offered access to the files for 80 euros (about $100) a time, as well as to a database of vehicle owners.

The report quoted emails requesting information on employees, including union members, on the names associated with a list of mobile phone numbers and asking to know who were the owners of certain car registrations.

Ikea France allegedly asked for police files on a customer who was suing the company for 4,000 euros and for the name of the owner of a car that approached the site of a future shop.

Former management at Surete International, which was wound up in 2011, have denied responsibility, instead blaming a disgruntled former employee.

AFP/The Local

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WEATHER

Danish Ikea store shelters staff and customers overnight during snowstorm

Heavy snowfall left 31 people looking for a spare cushion at the Aalborg branch of Ikea on Wednesday as they were forced to spend the night at the store.

A file photo at Ikea in Aalborg, where 31 people stayed overnight during a snowstorm on December 1st 2021.
A file photo at Ikea in Aalborg, where 31 people stayed overnight during a snowstorm on December 1st 2021. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Anyone who has found themselves wandering the mazy aisles of an Ikea might be able to empathise with the sense of being lost in the furniture store for a seemingly indefinite time.

Such a feeling was probably more real than usual for six customers and 25 staff members who were forced to spend the night at the furniture giant’s Aalborg branch after being snowed in.

Heavy snow in North Jutland brought traffic to a standstill and halted public transport in parts of the region on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in a snow-in at Ikea.

“This is certainly a new situation for us,” Ikea Aalborg store manager Peter Elmose told local media Nordjyske, which first reported the story.

“It’s certainly not how I thought my day would end when I drove to work this morning,” Elmose added.

The 31 people gathered in the store’s restaurant area and planned to see Christmas television and football to pass the evening, the store’s manager reported to Nordjyske.

“Our kitchen staff have made sure there is hot chocolate, risalamande, pastries, soft drinks, coffee and the odd beer for us in light of the occasion. So we’ll be able to keep warm,” he said.

“We couldn’t just send them outside and lock the door behind them at our 8pm closing time. Absolutely not. So of course they’ll be staying here,” he added.

The temporary guests were given lodging in different departments of the store in view of the Covid-19 situation, Nordjyske writes.

“For us , the most important thing was to take care of each other and that everyone feels safe,” Elmose said.

At least Ikea’s stranded customers and staff had somewhere comfortable to lay their heads.

The same can unlikely be said for around 300 passengers at the city’s airport who had to stay overnight at the terminal.

The airport was forced to stop flights from 2:30pm yesterday amid worsening weather, which also prevented buses from transferring passengers to hotels.

“We have around 300 people in the terminal right now and have been giving out blankets on the assumption they will be staying here tonight,” Aalborg Airport operations manager Kim Bermann told Nordjyske.

READ ALSO: Ikea reopens in Denmark after country’s worst retail month this century

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