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Swedish furniture giant Ikea has paid for illegal access to French police files on employees, clients and even those who came near its property, satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine alleged on Wednesday.
A spokesman for Ikea France vowed to investigate the charges, but declined to confirm or deny the allegation that the company used a private security firm to obtain illegally personal information, including about unhappy clients.
Le Canard published what it said were email exchanges between the head of the company's risk management department, Jean-Francois Paris, and Yann Messian of Surete International about getting access to the police STIC files.
The controversial STIC has been criticised for being an unreliable database of millions of names and personal information about crime perpetrators, victims and even witnesses.
The paper said that Surete International offered access to the files for 80 euros (about $100) a time, as well as to a database of vehicle owners.
The report quoted emails requesting information on employees, including union members, on the names associated with a list of mobile phone numbers and asking to know who were the owners of certain car registrations.
Ikea France allegedly asked for police files on a customer who was suing the shop for 4,000 euros and for the name of the owner of a car that approached the site of a future shop.
"We would like to shed all possible light on this situation. We have decided to undertake all the checks necessary to know what exactly happened," Ikea France's head of communications, Pierre Deyris, told AFP.
Deyris stressed that this was not an admission that the charges were true.
"We clearly and strenuously disapprove of all these illegal practices that can damage important values" such as "respect for privacy".
© 2012 AFP
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