IKEA 'blackmailers' face eight-year jail term
30 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Two men charged with trying to blackmail IKEA for EUR 250,000 by placing bombs in two of its Dutch outlets heard the public prosecution demand in the Amsterdam Court on Friday that they be sentenced to eight years in jail.
30 July 2004
AMSTERDAM — Two men charged with trying to blackmail IKEA for EUR 250,000 by placing bombs in two of its Dutch outlets heard the public prosecution demand in the Amsterdam Court on Friday that they be sentenced to eight years in jail.
The prosecution claims the blackmail attempt sparked fear and safety concerns among both IKEA staff and the public and so demanded the relatively tough jail terms of eight years.
It was particularly critical of the fact that unstable bombs were placed in an area where many families with small children congregate, news agency Novum reported.
Two Polish men are accused of trying to extort EUR 250,000 from the Swedish home furnishings store. A blackmail letter warned of bomb attacks if the multinational refused to pay the cash. Both defendants deny any wrongdoing.
The letter was received at the Amsterdam IKEA outlet on 3 December 2002, alerting the company that bombs had been placed in the Sliedrecht and Amsterdam stores. It also warned that a third bomb would be detonated at another store.
In response to the threat, IKEA closed all its 10 stores in the Netherlands on 4 December 2002 and police were called in to search every building for bombs. Explosives were found at the Sliedrecht and Amsterdam store but all eight outlets were given the all-clear.
The suspects are men aged 24 and 56. They were arrested in Portugal at the start of 2003, but claim the blackmail attempt was the work of two Russians they drove to the Netherlands. Police inquiries into the claims have ended in a dead end.
A ruling in the case will be handed down next month.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news