Ikea France bosses under investigation for alleged snooping

PARIS Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:05pm IST

An employee of Swedish retailer IKEA works during a demonstration by employees to demand for salary increases, outside a store in Bordeaux, southwestern France, February 13, 2010. REUTERS/Olivier Pon

An employee of Swedish retailer IKEA works during a demonstration by employees to demand for salary increases, outside a store in Bordeaux, southwestern France, February 13, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Olivier Pon

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PARIS (Reuters) - Public prosecutors have placed the French unit of Swedish furniture retailer Ikea IKEA.UL and its two top executives under formal investigation on allegations of illegally gathering data on employees and clients, Ikea France said on Wednesday.

The company confirmed that Ikea France itself, Chief Executive Stefan Vanoverbeke and Chief Financial Officer Dariusz Rychert had been placed under such an investigation - a move which in French law precedes a possible trial unless the inquiry is dropped at a later stage.

"We insist that the presumption of innocence applies and Ikea France continues to assist the authorities to establish the truth," a spokeswoman said.

The move follows a police search of the company's French headquarters earlier this month.

In April 2012, the company acknowledged practices in breach of its ethical standards and overhauled its management team the following month.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Natalie Huet, Mark John and David Evans)

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