Now we know why that furniture is so cheap. On Friday, the retail giant admitted that some of its products were produced by East German prisoners in the 1970s and 1980s who were jailed for political reasons. Peter Betzel, head of Ikea Germany, made the bold move of apologizing for the company’s actions to a roomful of former prisoners. A recent report by auditors had confirmed that managers knew the practice was going on. "It is not and never was acceptable to Ikea that it should be selling products made by political prisoners and I would like to express my deepest regret for this to the victims and their families," Betzel said.