The Versailles Court of Appeal (Yvelines) confirmed on Friday January 26 the conviction of the former boss of Ikea France in the case of spying on hundreds of employees of the French subsidiary of the multinational furniture company.
Jean-Louis Baillot, former CEO of the French subsidiary, was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and a €20,000 fine. The ex-boss of the investigation company Eirpace Jean-Pierre Fourès received a one-year suspended prison sentence and a similar fine. Dariusz Rychert, the administrative and financial director at the time, and Richard Gimenez, store manager, were released.
Two convicted, two released
Sentenced at first instance to a fine of one million euros, the company did not appeal and was therefore not retried.
In this vast case investigated from 2012, Ikea France and its managers at the time were prosecuted for having illegally inquired about the criminal record, the lifestyle or the assets of certain employees, via a company “in council of business”, Eirpace, which would have drawn this confidential data from police files.
Jean-Louis Baillot, Dariusz Rychert, Jean-Pierre Fourès and Richard Jimenez appealed against their convictions in June 2021. During the appeal trial last September, most denied having been informed of the existence of a system of illegal and widespread surveillance of employees.
The public prosecutor had requested confirmation of the sentences handed down at first instance against Jean-Louis Baillot and Jean-Pierre Fourès, i.e. two years’ suspended imprisonment and a fine of €50,000 and €20,000 respectively.
Against Richard Jimenez, Advocate General Henri Génin had requested an eight-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of €5,000 for having sent lists of employees to management.
For the former administrative and financial director Dariusz Rychert, accused of complicity for having countersigned invoices from Eirpace, the Advocate General admitted that there was “a doubt” and had requested the release.
Fifteen people implicated
In March 2021, Ikea France appeared before the Versailles criminal court alongside around fifteen natural persons: senior executives, store managers and police officers, against some 120 civil parties, including unions.
During this trial, the former director of risk management of the company, Jean-François Paris, had admitted sending lists of employees “to be tested” to Jean-Pierre Fourès, ex-police officer of General Information. The latter was suspected of having asked his network to illegally consult police files to collect confidential data on employees.
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