Prosecutors believe the scheme may have started as early as the early 2000s. But the transactions – which allegedly required police cooperation – only became the subject of a high profile case after media reports. French officials revealed internal communications between senior officials of the company.
Read more: Journalist suspended for spying on Zoom calls
Police files used by Eirpace’s private investigators were found to have been obtained illegally and improperly shared between officials at Ikea France. One of the accused was the former CEO Jean-Louis Baillot, sentenced to two years in prison and a 50,000 euro fine. Baillot was at the helm when the practice of screening was in place. A total of 15 officials, from Ikea France, Eirpace and the police, were also charged with disclosing the private data of at least 400 victims.
“Ikea Retail France has strongly condemned the practices, apologized and put in place a major action plan to prevent this from happening again,” said Ingka Group, owner of the store.