Europol says 66 arrested in horsemeat scandal investigation

Gladys Abbott
July 17, 2017

The Guardia Civil worked in cooperation with police in Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the statement added.

Investigators looking into "unusual behavior" in horse meat markets are said to have uncovered an operation run by an organized crime syndicate in Spain in which old and neglected horses were slaughtered and sold as meat overseas.

This marked the start of an investigation to find the origin of the contamination.

A Dutch meat trader dubbed "Flash Harry" by his neighbours denied duping customers when the scandal broke in 2013.

The Spanish investigation was launched previous year after unusual behaviour was detected in the horse meat market.

It found that horses that were in bad shape, too old or simply labelled as "not suitable for consumption" were being slaughtered in two different slaughterhouses.

The criminal organisation forged the animals' identification by modifying theirs microchips and documentation, Europol alleges.

He led the activities of the organisation from Calpe in Alicante, and was involved in the Irish case of the beefburgers containing horse meat.

Samples were taken during some of the raids which were carried out in conjunction with Europol
Samples were taken during some of the raids which were carried out in conjunction with Europol

The horse meat is once again in the spotlight.

The European police agency Europol said 65 people were arrested in Spain, and the main suspect, a Dutch citizen, was arrested in Belgium.

It has emerged Jan Fasen is languishing in jail in Spain after being arrested and extradited from Belgium.

The police investigation was coordinated by the Federal Police, the Federal Food Agency in Belgium and Guardia Civil. It is by following this trail that the police Spanish were able to reveal the extent of the network.

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

Because of the worldwide nature of this case, Guardia Civil asked Europol for its support in the operation.

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

Analysis of samples conducted in The Hague concluded the meat was destined mainly for markets outside Spain, as the samples matched others found overseas.

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