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Nestlé guilty of illegally infiltrating activist group, finds Swiss court

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 29-Jan-2013

A Swiss court has found Nestlé and Securitas AG guilty of illegally infiltrating activist organisation Attac, and has ordered them to pay compensation for violation of personal rights.

Anti-globalisation group Attac filed the case against Nestlé and Securitas AG in 2008 after Swiss television alleged that an Attac workgroup in Canton Vaud had been infiltrated in 2003 by a Securitas employee working on behalf of Nestlé. The group had been working on a book about Nestlé’s policies, “Attac contre l’empire Nestle”, which was published in 2004.

The final ruling has yet to be published, but corporate spokesperson for Nestlé Philippe Aeschlimann said via email that the company had taken note of the judge’s decision on Attac’s civil complaint “with disappointment.”

He said: “We would like to reiterate that incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé’s corporate business principles.”

He said that the company was unable to make any specific comments before the judge’s reasoning is released, but added: “If it turns out that a Nestlé employee has acted negligently, we will take appropriate action.”

Attac said in a statement that it was “very satisfied that the civil court has now condemned Nestlé’s and Securitas AG’s spying activities.”

Civil court president Jean-Luc Genillard has ordered Nestlé and Securitas AG to pay compensation of 3,000 Swiss francs (€2,400) per claimant, a total of 27,000 Swiss francs, or about €21,700 at today’s exchange rate.