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French Designer Bugged Employee

March 17, 2000

PARIS (AP) _ A French court on Friday handed down a $17,800 fine to fashion designer Michele Azzaro for invasion of privacy after listening devices were discovered in the office of her former press secretary.

Olivia Couturier filed a complaint after discovering a microphone hidden in a baseboard of her office at the fashion house, where Azzaro lived, in 1997.

Azzaro also received a four-month suspended sentence.

Azzaro claimed the microphone was a security device to survey the office.

``There wasn’t anything to survey in my office besides myself,″ Couturier told the court.

Other employees also testified they had been placed under surveillance, but had not filed complaints.

During a January 1998 search, police found so many interlacing wires, microphones and cameras in the fashion house that one expert told the court the designer had risked electrocuting herself.

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