Three prosecuted over horsemeat scandal

City of London Police has charged three men with fraud offences in an investigation over the horsemeat incident that shook the nation in 2013. 

Forty-three-year-old Alex Ostler-Beech from Hull, 54-year-old Andrew Sideras of Southgate and Ulrik Nielsen, 57, from Denmark were all charged with conspiracy to defraud. They are due to appear on bail at City of London Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 27 September.

The charges are the result of an international criminal investigation that saw City of London Police (which is also the National Policing Lead for Fraud) work in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), as well as law enforcement agencies across the UK and Europe.

“After carefully considering evidence from the UK and overseas, the CPS has decided that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to charge these three men,” said Kristen Jones, head of specialist fraud for the CPS.

“This decision comes after a thorough investigation conducted by the City of London Police in liaison with partner agencies.”

Ostler-Beech and Sideras were first arrested in July 2013, while Nielsen was interviewed in August of that year alongside a 52-year-old man, who was released with no further action.  

“May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Nielsen, Ostler-Beech and Sideras will now be commenced and [in consideration] of their right to a fair trial it is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings,” added Jones.

Investigations found that between 1 January 2012 and 31 October 2012, the three men conspired together and, with others, to defraud purchasers that contained wholly or in part a mixture of beef and horsemeat by arranging for the two meats to be combined as the sale of beef.

Major supermarkets including Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and Iceland were all affected by the scandal.

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