Finance

Dutchman at centre of new European horse meat scandal

Dutchman at centre of new European horse meat scandal

He was first sought in connection with a scandal in the Republic of Ireland in 2013, when horsemeat was found in beef burgers, but his whereabouts were unknown at that time.

According to the Financieele Dagblad, Fasen has an earlier conviction for selling cheap Argentine horse meat to Muslims as halal beef.

The 65 suspects were arrested during a series of raids in Spain and included the alleged ringleader, a Dutch entrepreneur who is being linked directly with a horse meat scam which caused a major beefburger scare in Ireland in 2013.

The investigation in the wake of the scandal let to "the identification of a Dutch citizen known in the horsemeat world", Europol says.

66 people have been arrested in the operation, which was carried out in coordination with authorities in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The animals came from Portugal and several places in northern Spain, their meat was processed in a specific facility.

Ten million burgers were taken off shelves and sales fell by 43pc.

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Police in Spain made 65 arrests for crimes including animal abuse, forgery, money laundering and racketeering. As many as 13 European countries were implicated in the scandal.

He had put deputies in charge in the various countries, with the Spanish part of the organisation only being part of the Europe-wide operation.

The group is suspected of having modified the horse's microchips and documentation to pass off the meat as edible.

In the summer of 2016, an operation was uncovered by Spanish authorities who noticed that horses in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as "not suitable for consumption" were being slaughtered in two different slaughterhouses.

Various bank accounts and real estate have been blocked and five new high-end vehicles seized.

The spokesman explained that officers launched a full-scale probe, called Operation Gazel, after detecting "atypical signs in the horse meat trade" past year.


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