Three executives at IKEA France, including the chief executive officer, were charged on Tuesday in connection with allegations the company illegally used police files to spy on staff and customers, a judicial source said.
IKEA France’s chief executive officer Stefan Vanoverbeke, chief financial officer Dariusz Rychert and the company’s former CEO, Jean-Louis Baillot, were charged with “complicity to collect personal data” and “complicity to violate professional secrecy,” the source said.
All three were formally held for questioning by police in Versailles, near Paris, on Monday.
The charges follow police seizures at IKEA France’s headquarters in the Paris suburbs earlier this month.
An IKEA France spokeswoman for the Swedish furniture giant’s local subsidiary said the firm was aware of the latest developments.
“The company will continue to assist the establishment of the truth,” she said.
Vanoverbeke’s lawyer said his client denied the charges.
“My client totally disputes his involvement in this matter. He’s calmly awaiting the next steps in the process,” attorney Alexis Gublin said.
IKEA France was itself on Tuesday charged as a legal entity and ordered to pay a deposit of 500,000 euros (US$670,000) to secure possible compensation for the civil parties in the case, according to the same judicial source.
Prosecutors launched a criminal probe in April last year following allegations that IKEA France paid for illegal access to secret police files to gain information about employees and clients, including about their court and police records and bank accounts.
Keen to repair its reputation, IKEA France subsequently fired four employees, launched an internal inquiry and established a code of conduct to avoid a repeat of the scandal.
Several people had already been charged in connection with the case, including IKEA France’s former risk management head Jean-Francois Paris.
Four civilian police employees have also been charged and are suspected of selling confidential police files to IKEA France.
Media reports have said sources were paid about 80 euros in each case to hand over files from the police STIC file system, which tracks millions of names and personal information about criminals, victims and even witnesses.
Reports alleged IKEA France requested information on its own employees, including union members, the owners of certain car registrations and names associated with a list of mobile phone numbers.
In one case, the company allegedly asked for personal information on a customer who was suing it for 4,000 euros.
The judicial probe in Versailles was opened after a complaint was filed by labor unions.
The company has 29 stores and 9,300 employees in France.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into
O2O BICYCLE SHOW: The Taiwan Bicycle Show next year is to be online to offline, with forums, audio-visual conferences and livestreaming of the offline events Local bicycle makers expect demand to continue outpacing supply due to orders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some companies seeing orders back up through next year. “Next year is all full in terms of orders. Our lead time on components is one year,” Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd (巨大機械) chairwoman Bonnie Tu (杜綉珍) told a news conference in Taipei organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to announce next year’s Taipei Cycle Show. The pandemic has reduced bicycle supplies and increased demand around the world, Robert Wu (吳盈進), chairman of KMC (Kuei Meng) International Inc (桂盟國際), one of the world’s