People who are in the horse slaughter industry are criminals and if we STOP horse slaughter for GOOD we can stop some criminals too. ~Declan
By David Collins 12 April 2013 As posted on the Mirror
Horsemeat scandal's prime suspect revealed: Is this the tycoon who butchered the meat trade?
He has become a leading suspect in the food scandal which has seen tainted meat sold by British supermarkets in ready meals and burgers.
Tycoon: Willy Selten
This is the tycoon Dutch authorities suspect may have flooded Europe with 50,000 tons of beef contaminated with horsemeat.
Willy Selten has become a leading suspect in the food scandal which has seen tainted meat sold by British supermarkets in ready meals and burgers.
Selten, who lives in a £1.5million house near Oss, Netherlands, owns two wholesalers being probed by officials.
The Dutch government initially denied any involvement in the scandal.
But this week officials recalled 50,000 tons of suspect beef sold by Selten’s firms, Wiljo Import en Export BV and Vleesgroothandel Willy Selten.
They have advised 370 companies across 16 countries to remove the beef from the food chain.
Selten became known to the authorities last May when meat supplied by his wholesaler tested positive for horse painkiller bute – which can be dangerous when consumed by humans.
But Selten’s huge meat businesses continued to operate.
Now investigators cannot find the paperwork that would help them trace the suspect beef’s source.
The beef – equivalent to 450 million quarter-pounder burgers – is worth £500million and was sold by Selten between January 2011 and February this year.
But millionaire Selten has failed to pay his 120 workers since the beginning of March, leading several to take legal action in an attempt to bankrupt his company.
He currently employs 85 Polish workers who live on a campsite near one of his warehouses in Oss, which stands behind imposing grey gates and corrugated shutters.
The father-of-two was said by neighbours to be a “quiet family man”.
One said: “He’s not flash but there’s a quiet, aristocratic air of wealth about him. He's not short of a euro or two.”
Selten faced no action last year when horsemeat contaminated with bute was traced to one of his factories.
It was not until this year that the factory was shut down temporarily and Selten was taken to court in February.
At that point, the focus of the probe was on the drug contamination but it is understood Dutch officials also suspected the trader of mixing meat.
Selten was allowed to re-open the firms and trade again under strict supervision.
Following his court case, Selten was asked by a reporter: “It is said that you are mixing horsemeat with beef. Strangely enough, nothing was said about this today?”
Selten responded cryptically: “You’re right, I found that strange as well.”
He then admitted mixing horsemeat with fat from beef. He said: “Yes, we’ve processed horsemeat.
"There was also horsemeat mixed with fat from beef, ordered by and in co-operation with a company that delivered the horsemeat.”
Dutch officials said the exact source of the latest suspect meat could not be traced due to a lack of paperwork so “its safety cannot be guaranteed” and some “may already have been consumed”.
They have been in contact with our own Food Standards Agency, which believes meat from the trader was sold to British companies.
Asked if horsemeat was being mixed with beef, Selten’s lawyer Frank Peters said: “That’s the theory, but the investigation is ongoing.”
On Tuesday, the FSA said veterinary drug bute had been found in Asda Smart Price Corned Beef.
Asda had already withdrawn tens of thousands of cans of its own brand corned beef last month after it was found to contain up to 50% horsemeat.
The scandal erupted in January when Irish food standards officials announced they found horse in burgers made in Ireland and the UK and sold by stores such as Tesco, Iceland, Aldi and Lidl.
The problems quickly spread across the continent and involved well-known brands including Findus and Nestle
City of London Police fraud experts will lead the probe into a scandal ministers described as a “criminal conspiracy which covers 23 countries”.
The Mirror approached Selten, but he refused to comment.
Tesco and Asda both denied having links with him.
Safety chiefs gave trader second chanceIT took nine months for officials to take action against Willy Selten after the harmful horse tranquiliser bute was found in meat traced to one of his firms.
All the while, the trader was able to sell meat across Europe, which authorities now have serious concerns over.
His factories were shut in February and he faced a short court case, which resulted in him being allowed to trade again – under strict supervision.
A Dutch Food Safety Authority spokeswoman explained: “Our policy in the Netherlands is that everybody should be given a second chance.”
But the suspicion is now that Selten’s firms sold horsemeat that was relabelled as beef.
That suspicion has led to this week’s urgent recall of 50,000 tons of meat across Europe.