Horsemeat scandal linked to secret network of firms [View all]
Source: The Observer (UK)
Europe's unfolding horsemeat scandal took a new twist on Saturday when it emerged that key intermediaries involved in the trade appeared to be using a similar secretive network of companies to the convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout.
The Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) identified an intermediary firm, Draap Trading, based in Limassol, Cyprus, as playing a pivotal role in shipping horsemeat across Europe.
Draap has confirmed that it bought horsemeat from two Romanian abattoirs. The company sold the meat to French food processors including Spanghero, which supplied another French company, Comigel, that turned it into frozen meals for the likes of food firm Findus, some of which had a meat content that was almost 100% horse.
Draap, which is owned by a trust in the British Virgin Islands tax haven, insists the meat it sold into France was labelled as horse. Spanghero says the meat arrived labelled "beef". Jan Fasen, who runs Draap and has denied any wrongdoing, was convicted last year of selling South American horsemeat as German and Dutch beef.