Ikea suspends man after spy claims


Swedish furniture firm accused of paying for secret information on staff and customers

FURNITURE giant Ikea has suspended a senior manager after it was accused of illegally spying on staff and customers.

An article in the weekly Le Canard Enchaîné said that since 2003 the Swedish firm paid contacts with security companies to get access to secret police files held in the Système de Traitement des Infractions Constatées (STIC) computer system.

Illegal access to the files could result in a five-year jail term.

Use of the STIC has been particularly criticised as it is a database of several tens of millions of names with unverified information on the victims of crime as well as criminals. It has been widely labelled unreliable, including in an official 2008 report that said only 17% of the information was accurate.

Website Mediapart added claims today that the company had even obtained confidential bank details of staff by using contacts inside the police.

The Swedish firm says it is investigating the claims urgently and had suspended the individual concerned, thought to be the head of security.

It added: "We take these accusations very seriously. We have started our own inquiry with independent advisors to get the widest possible picture of what has happened.

"Respect for the private live of people counts among the strongest values of this group and we disapprove in the strongest possible way of all these kinds of illegal practices which are an affront to those important values."

At the Interior Ministry the official spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said: "As we do not have all the information we are remaining cautious."

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