Economy

Horse meat scandal leads to 65 arrests across Europe

Horse meat scandal leads to 65 arrests across Europe”

Europol says the horses came from various places in northern Spain or Portugal and their identification was forged by modifying their documentation and microchips.

A Dutch national has been arrested in Belgium and authorities suspect that he is the mastermind behind the operation.

The probe stems out of the Irish horse meat scandal from 2013, when it was found that frozen burgers supplied to several supermarkets, including major retailer Tesco, contained horse DNA.

A total of 65 people have been arrested and charged in Spain, with charges including animal abuse, money laundering and crimes against public health.

A scam which saw horse meat served up as beef burgers in Britain has been busted after 65 people were arrested in a Europe-wide operation.

According to Europol, the Dutchman had put "his most trusted men in charge in every country affected by the scam".

Last summer, police noted "unusual behaviour" in the horse meat market and arrested the original ringleader in Belgium although he was living a "discreet" life in Alicante.

Horses in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as "not suitable for consumption" were being slaughtered in two different slaughterhouses, Europol says.

An official for Spain's Guardia Civil inspects a slaughterhouse in Spain. Europol added that it had seized bank accounts, properties and luxury cars in the course of the investigation.

Spanish Civil Guard went public with new details about their involvement in the dismantling of a network suspected of putting horsemeat not apt for human consumption into the food chain and making a staggering POUNDS 20 million-a-year profit.

Because of the global nature of this case, Guardia Civil asked Europol for its support in the operation. The investigators then determined the organization was involved in more countries than Spain.

During the searches at the slaughterhouses and facilities, several samples were taken.

The results concluded that the destination of the horsemeat was mainly outside of Spain because the samples in Spain matched those found overseas.



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