“These were not local but national initiatives (…) with a whole series of stores [visés] and the general management was well involved“, underlined the Advocate General Henri Génin during his requisitions before the Court of Appeal of Versailles, brushing aside the thesis of “the work of one man“.
It is this hypothesis that was put forward on Thursday by several of the defendants to clear themselves of their responsibility in this case which had caused a stir in 2012, after the revelations of Le Canard enchaîné, then in 2021 during the trial at first instance.
Thursday at the helm, the former CEO of the French subsidiary of the furniture giant Jean-Louis Baillot fully blamed this illegal and generalized surveillance system on his former director of risk management Jean-François Paris.
“We don’t know. we do not know“, what Mr. Paris is then plotting, he had repeated.
“Once the instructions have been given, in a hushed and discreet manner, the management retires on tiptoe and does not want to know anything more“, rephrased the Advocate General on Friday.
In March 2021, Jean-François Paris admitted at trial at first instance to having sent lists of employees “to test” to Jean-Pierre Fourès, the former director of the private investigation company Eirpace and ex-policeman of General Intelligence.
Hundreds of employees, between 2009 and 2012, had been scrutinized in this way, their assets, private lives and criminal records scrupulously scrutinized: “mass checks“, had confessed Mr. Paris.
The Advocate General requested confirmation of the sentences pronounced at first instance for MM. Baillot and Fourès, for which he requested two years in prison suspended and a fine of 20,000 euros.
The latter has always denied having asked former colleagues to consult the System for processing recorded offenses (STIC) to extract the criminal records of employees.
But “52 views“concerning employees of the Reims store from Mayotte by an ex-comrade is”a most disturbing coincidence“, mocked the Advocate General, recalling elements of the investigation.
“+ Weird stuff +, I don’t call it a legal demonstration“, retorted the advice of former police officer Marc François, pointing out that the criminal records of employees could be checked in the STIC for different reasons.
For the former administrative and financial director Dariusz Rychert, who countersigned part of Eirpace’s invoices, “there is a doubt“, admitted the Advocate General, who requested the release because he was “confronted with a fait accompli“.
Against Richard Jimenez, store manager suspected of having sent lists of employees, the representative of the prosecution requested eight months in prison suspended and a fine of 5,000 euros, arguing that he could only ignore these intrusions into private life. were illegal.
His lawyer Eric Raffin decreed that his client had “just execute an instruction” from management.
The company Ikea France is represented in this appeal trial: it is not re-tried in criminal proceedings but only a respondent, four civil parties having appealed for compensation, including the FO Val d’Oise union which requested two million euros for the damage suffered, via his lawyer Vincent Lecourt.
“This is not serious“, judged the lawyer for Ikea France Emmanuel Daoud, recalling that the company “didn’t sit idly by“but had notably set up a legal department following the scandal and reactivated its ethics committee, among other measures.
Defense arguments continue Wednesday.