A French union on Thursday lodged a formal legal complaint against Swedish furniture giant IKEA accusing it of illegally spying on staff and customers, legal sources said.

"/> A French union on Thursday lodged a formal legal complaint against Swedish furniture giant IKEA accusing it of illegally spying on staff and customers, legal sources said.

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CRIME

Union lodges complaint over IKEA spying claim

A French union on Thursday lodged a formal legal complaint against Swedish furniture giant IKEA accusing it of illegally spying on staff and customers, legal sources said.

Union lodges complaint over IKEA spying claim

The Force Ouvrière union lodged the complaint at a court in Versailles, near Paris, a day after the French branch of IKEA said it would investigate spying allegations made by satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné.

The probe will examine claims that the firm paid for illegal access to secret French police files in order to gain information about its employees, clients and even people who came near its property, IKEA said.

Force Ouvrière’s complaint accuses the company of fraudulent use of personal data, the sources said.

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 Sureté International about getting access to the police force’s STIC files.

The controversial STIC file system has been criticised for being an unreliable database of millions of names and personal information about crime perpetrators, victims and even witnesses.

The newspaper said that Sureté International offered access to the files for €80 (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 company for €4,000 and for the name of the owner of a car that approached the site of a future shop.

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PARIS

Paris police rescue handbag robber from river Seine

Paris police on Tuesday fished a man out of the Seine river, which he jumped into after he rammed a car into a Valentino store and robbed dozens of luxury handbags.

Paris police rescue handbag robber from river Seine

The 24-year-old suspect smashed into the store around 2am on the high-end Rue Saint-Honoré, a police source said.

He grabbed as many as 30 luxury handbags and other items before attempting to flee in the car.

The man then failed to stop when a police patrol gave chase after spotting him near the central Paris Opéra.

He abandoned the car on Place de la Concorde at the end of the Champs-Elysées, the police source said, before plunging into the nearby river Seine.

But river police quickly fished him out and placed him under arrest.

A source familiar with the case said that the “entirety” of the stolen items had been found.

A second source told AFP that “around 30” handbags – which Valentino lists on its website at between €1,000 and €3,000 – were found in his car.

The suspect now faces an investigation for charges including aggravated robbery and refusal to comply with police, Paris prosecutors said.

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