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Europe

Six months prison for selling horsemeat as beef

media Horse meat may have been used for hamburgers pixabay

The former director of a French meat-processing company has been sentenced to two years in jail, with 18 months suspended, for his implication in a 2013 horsemeat scandal.

Public prosecutors had asked for a sentence of four years during the trial that opened on 18 January in Paris.

The court also confiscated a sum of 100,000 euros in cash from the home of Jacques Poujol and imposed a two-year ban, forbidding him from being active in the industry.

The scandal started in the UK in early 2013 and spread to all of Europe.

Irish authorities initially discovered that horsemeat had been used in frozen burgers labelled as "pure beef".

In total, four suspects were accused of helping organise the sale of more than 500 tons of horsemeat in 2012-2013 to Comigel, a French company that exports to a dozen European countries.

The Comigel parent company, Spanghero, was also accused of selling more than 200 tonnes of horsemeat mainly in the form of merguez sausages.

Investigators discovered that the horsemeat used originated from abattoirs in Romania and was handled by two companies based in Cyprus and the Netherlands.

It was then labelled incorrectly as beef. Spanghero and the Dutch middlemen, Johannes Fasen and Hendricus Windmeijer are accused of pocketing the resulting profits.

Fasen was arrested in 2017 in Spain, suspected of using the meat of stolen and ill horses and putting it on the market.

He was sentenced in the Netherlands for selling horsemeat as ritually-killed halal beef. He bought the horses from Argentina and sold them in France.

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