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Europe

Dutch horsemeat fraudster caught in Spain at the request of Paris

media Cuts of horsemeat at a horse butchery in Rosny-sous-Bois near Paris. Reuters/Charles Platiau

A Dutchman sentenced to jail in France over a 2013 Europe-wide horsemeat scandal has been arrested in Spain. The man, identified as Jan Fasen, was arrested at the request of French authorities.

According to the Belgian daily De Gazet van Anterpen, Fasen lived in a spacious villa in the Belgian town of Schoten.

Fasen was one of four convicted for having deceived a French company when it sold it 500 tonnes of horsemeat presenting it as beef, which is more expensive.

The company sold frozen meals to 28 different companies in 13 European countries.

The scandal started in 2013 in the UK.

According to health authorities, consumption of horse meat is not damaging for health. But the trust of consumers in the meat industry was severely damaged.

The revelation of the fraud in 2013 forced supermarkets across Europe to pull millions of suspect food products such as frozen lasagne and meatballs from their shelves.

Officers arrested Fasen in Spain's eastern seaside resort of Calpe near Benidorm on July 23 at the request of French authorities.

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.

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