Dutch meat trader accused of being the kingpin of Europe-wide horsemeat scandal which hit British shelves in 2013 is arrested in Spain
- Jan Fasen was arrested near Benidorm at the request of French authorities
- Fasen was one of four convicted for duping a French supplier into buying horse
- The scandal forced shops to pull frozen goods and sparked outrage in the UK
A Dutch meat trader suspected to be the kingpin of Europe’s 2013 horsemeat scandal has been arrested in Spain, police said today.
Jan Fasen was detained at the request of French authorities earlier this month after a court in Paris handed him in a two-year prison sentence in his absence.
Fasen was one of four people convicted for duping a French company into buying 500 tonnes of horsemeat, by presenting it as beef.
Supermarkets across Europe were forced to pull millions of suspect food products such as frozen lasagne and meatballs from their shelves after the fraud was revealed in 2013.
Taken into custody: Jan Fasen (centre), a Dutch meat trader linked to Europe’s 2013 horsemeat scandal, was arrested by Spanish authorities near Benidorm at France’s request
The French company supplied by Fasen sold frozen meals to 28 different companies in 13 European countries.
The scandal sparked national disgust in Britain after foods group Findus found horse meat in its lasagne ready meals.
Aldi, Lidl, Iceland and the Co-operative Group were also victims of the scandal as they were sold beef products found to contain horse DNA.
Food standards bosses put the horsemeat content at Findus at between 60 and 100 per cent while one Tesco burger contained about 29 per cent horsemeat.
Horsemeat can be a delicacy in some countries but the misinformation sparked outrage in Britain.
‘People will be very angry to find out that they have been eating horse when they thought they were eating beef,’ then-PM David Cameron said at the time.
It also emerged emerged that the Queen and members of the Royal Family may have eaten horse meat passed off as beef at Royal Ascot.
Sodexo, one of Britain’s biggest catering companies, which supplied hundreds of schools, care homes, military bases, prisons, office canteens and sporting venues, revealed at the height of the scandal that it had found horse meat in minced beef products.
The French-owned firm also had a contract to produce meals for the military at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Tower of London.
Arrest: Fasen is taken into custody in Calpe after a French court handed him in a two-year prison sentence in his absence earlier this year
Officers arrested Fasen in Spain’s eastern seaside resort of Calpe near Benidorm on July 23, police said today.
The Madrid-based National Court must now decide whether to allow his extradition to France.
Spanish authorities are already investigating Fasen in a similar affair, uncovered in Spain in 2017, where he allegedly led a gang that sold horsemeat unfit for human consumption across Europe.
He was earlier arrested as part of that case and released on bail pending a trial, the Civil Guard said.
Altogether, 65 people were detained as part of that investigation, including abattoir owners, vets and farmers.
Fasen also has convictions for a similar fraud in 2012 in the Netherlands.