Swedish furniture giant Ikea expressed regret Friday that it benefited from the use of forced prison labour by some of its suppliers in communist East Germany more than two decades ago.

The company released an independent report showing that East German prisoners, among them many political dissidents, were involved in the manufacture of goods that were supplied to Ikea 25 to 30 years ago. The report concluded that Ikea managers were aware of the possibility that prisoners would be used in the manufacture of its products and took some measures to prevent this, but they were insufficient.

“We deeply regret that this could happen,” said Jeanette Skjelmose, an Ikea manager. “The use of political prisoners for manufacturing was at no point accepted by IKEA.”

But she added that “at the time we didn’t have the well-developed control system that we have today and we clearly did too little to prevent such production methods.”

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