IKEA FRANCE is being prosecuted as a corporate entity along with several of its former executives in Versailles, southwest of Paris, for spying on employees.
Today prosecutors asked for IKEA France to be fined €2 million (£1,709,905) for spying on hundreds of its employees.
At a trial that involved several former senior executives, prosecutors also called for a prison term for a former CEO for his part in helping to illegally spy on staff and job applicants using police officers and private detectives.
The charges include violating professional confidentiality, illegally gathering personal information and receiving illegally gathered personal information. Some of these violations carry a maximum prison term of 10 years.
Prosecutors say IKEA France has collected information on hundreds of prospective and existing staff and have also obtained confidential information on criminal records.
The court is investigating the company’s practices between 2009 and 2012, however, prosecutors say they started nearly 10 years earlier.
The requested fine is a fraction of the group’s annual profits, which last year was €1.5 billion (£1,282,462,500), and just above half the maximum sum allowed under French law.
Prosecutor, Pamela Tabardel, said on Tuesday: “What’s at stake here is the protection of our private lives against a threat, the threat of mass surveillance.”
Tabardel said she hopes the court will send a “strong message” to other companies.
Former chief executive of IKEA France operations, Jean-Louis Baillot, has denied any role in the alleged elaborate system, however, the prosecutor said he should serve a prison sentence and has asked for a three-year sentence.
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