Russia opens fraud probe into IKEA staff in Moscow

19th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian police said Monday they launched a probe into allegations of fraud and bribery by staff of Swedish retail giant IKEA in Moscow and were seeking to extradite Swedish and Turkish nationals.

Three employees including a Swedish executive are suspected of extorting a $225,000 bribe from a businessman, an interior ministry spokesman told AFP.

Two Turkish nationals acted as middlemen between the Swede and a businessman who wanted to rent space in IKEA's Mega shopping centre in southern Moscow, said a spokesman for the ministry's economic security branch, Andrei Pilipchuk.

In April, police detained one of the Turkish nationals in a Moscow coffee shop as he was receiving the bribe on telephoned instructions from the executive who was away on holiday in Sweden, Pilipchuk added.

The executive is still in Sweden and Russia is requesting extradition, the interior ministry spokesman said, adding that IKEA dismissed the suspect in May.

The detained Turkish man is currently in Moscow and has signed an order barring him from leaving the city, he said.

IKEA on Monday confirmed to AFP that several of its former employees are under investigation and said it was "completely cooperating with the investigators," declining further comment.

© 2011 AFP

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