Ikea’s French subsidiary and several of its former executives went on trial Monday over accusations that they illegally spied on employees and customers.
Trade unions reported the furniture and home goods company to French authorities in 2012, accusing it of collecting personal data by fraudulent means and the illicit disclosure of personal information.
The unions alleged that Ikea France paid to gain access to police files that had information about targeted individuals, particularly union activists and customers who were in disputes with Ikea. The company fired four executives and changed internal policy after French prosecutors opened a criminal probe in 2012. But at Monday’s trial in the Versailles court, lawyers for Ikea France denied any strategy of “generalized espionage.”