Horsemeat Scandal - Two Jailed
Two men have been jailed for their part in the horsemeat scandal that was discovered in 2013. Andronicos Sideras, 55, and Ulrik Nielsen, 58, conspired to disguise 30 tonnes of horsemeat as beef to be sold in major supermarkets in the UK.
The men planned to use Nielsen’s Danish company, FlexiFoods, to ship horsemeat to premises owned by Sideras in London. Once in the UK, the meat was mixed with beef and relabelled, ready for sale as beef. A third man, Alex Beech handled the shipments and the accounting in the FlexiFoods UK office. The plot was motivated by greed as the men were hoping to capitalise on the higher price of beef.
Sideras and Nielsen were both found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud at Inner London Crown Court on Monday 31 July. Sideras has been sentenced to four and a half years and Nielsen was given three and a half years. A suspended sentence was given to Alex Beech.
From the Sky News Twitter account
It has been reported that the majority of the meat made it into the food chain and the value of the fraud was £177,869. The police have commented that the true cost is probably in the millions. This is part of the scandal that was uncovered in 2013 when the contents of frozen burgers sold in British and Irish supermarkets were shown to include horsemeat. The supermarkets affected include Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Iceland.
The horsemeat included farm animals not sold for slaughter. Microchips for at least three horses that had been pets or riding horses were discovered. Their owners had not been aware that they were being sold on for slaughter.
While sentencing the men, the judge, Owen Davies QC, added that the scandal was “not confined to this country, not confined to the farms we have heard about, and it’s a big issue for the public to be concerned about.” He continued on to tell the men that “the fact is, it was discovered by accident and only emerged as a problem because of your activity.”