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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

IKEA Names Execs Who Approved Bribes

Two IKEA executives fired for tolerating graft were identified as Per Kaufmann, the firm's general director for Russia and Eastern Europe, and real estate director Stefan Gross, Kommersant reported Monday.

The group said Saturday in a statement that it had dismissed Kaufmann and Gross for tolerating the use of bribes in connecting one of its Mega shopping malls in St. Petersburg to the power grid.

The two managers had "turned a blind eye" to a subcontractor's bribe-giving in order to hasten a power supply issue at the Mega mall in St. Petersburg, IKEA said.

Kaufmann has been responsible for the firm's development in Russia since 2006, while Gross has held his position since last year.

IKEA's Swedish office said it had made the decision to fire the executives on Friday and that this was the first time that it had to make such a decision.

"The measures taken on Friday are unprecedented for the corporation throughout the world, but IKEA is prepared to stick to its touch position on similar issues," the company's press service said, Kommersant reported.

In June, founder Ingvar Kamprad said the home-furnishings retailer had been cheated out of $190 million in gas and electricity bills. He said energy suppliers had failed to live up to their contractual obligations to provide electricity to its stores, forcing the company to buy its own generators.

In July, Kaufmann said IKEA would halt all future investments in Russia after it was not allowed to open a Mega mall in Samara — almost two years after it was finished — because of bureaucratic barriers posed by local officials.

In August, the company said it would end the freeze because local officials were adhering more closely to the law.