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16/07/2017 15:15:36
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Europol: Hintermänner von Pferdefleisch-Skandal festgenommen


DEN HAAG (dpa-AFX) - Europäische Ermittler haben einen internationalen Ring von Fleischbetrügern zerschlagen und insgesamt 66 Verdächtige festgenommen. Die Bande unter Leitung eines niederländischen Fleischhändlers soll für den großen europäischen Pferdefleisch-Skandal von 2013 verantwortlich sein, teilte Europol am Sonntag in Den Haag mit. Sie soll billiges Pferdefleisch als teures Rindfleisch deklariert und verkauft haben. Das Fleisch war nicht für menschlichen Verzehr geeignet und zum Teil mit Medikamenten behandelt.

Der Kopf der Bande soll ein niederländischer Fleischhändler sein, wie Europol mitteilte. Er wurde in Belgien festgenommen. Den Verdächtigen wird unter anderem Betrug, Dokumentenfälschung und Verbrechen gegen die Gesundheit der Bevölkerung vorgeworfen.

Der Skandal war 2013 ans Licht gekommen, als in Irland Pferdefleisch in Hamburgern entdeckt worden war. Danach wurde auch in anderen europäischen Ländern Pferdefleisch in Mahlzeiten gefunden, obwohl auf deren Etiketten reines Rindfleisch stand. Deutschland war ebenfalls betroffen, hier wurde etwa Tiefkühl-Lasagne mit Anteilen von Pferdefleisch zurückgerufen.

Im Sommer 2016 hatten die spanischen Umweltbehörden Unregelmäßigkeiten beim Handel mit Pferdefleisch festgestellt. Fleisch war falsch ausgezeichnet und exportiert worden. Die Ermittler kamen dem niederländischen Großhändler auf die Spur, der das betrügerische Netzwerk aus Calpe in Alicante leitete, wie Europol mitteilte.

An der Operation unter Leitung der spanischen Polizei waren Ermittler in acht Ländern beteiligt. Es seien auch mehrere Bankkonten, Immobilien und Luxusautos beschlagnahmt worden./ab/DP/he

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