Spanish police reveal details of Europe-wide horsemeat scandal

Spanish police reveal details of Europe-wide horsemeat scandal

Spanish police reveal details of Europe-wide horsemeat scandal

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

The arrests were made throughout Spain in an operation in conjunction with crime-fighting organisation Europol and developed in coordination with several European Union countries including Britain and Belgium following the 2013 food scare.

The operation against the food scam reportedly took several months to coordinate, as authorities in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Britain and Spain took part in it.

The investigation stems from a British horsemeat scandal in 2013 when frozen burgers supplied to several supermarkets were found to contain horse DNA.

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As per investigative agencies, the meat was not fit for human consumption.

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.

In the course of investigations, police tracked down Fasen to a property in Calpe, near Alicante on the Costa Blanca.

Spain's Guardia Civil police force began their investigation in 2016 after detecting "unusual behaviour" in horsemeat markets.

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The chief suspect, a Dutch businessman, was arrested in Belgium in April.

They said 65 people have been arrested in Spain alone.

The meat was sold across Europe and may have earned the group over 20 million euros ($23 million) per year, Spanish police said in a separate statement.

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

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Europol has worked actively in all necessary actions, including coordination, first contact with other affected countries in order to initiate investigations, and summoning and supporting all involved agencies for coordination and analysis meetings in The Hague, where all the information was studied and processed. The results concluded that the destination of the horse meat was mainly outside of Spain, due to the fact that the samples in Spain matched those found overseas.

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