Horse meat fraudster gets 30 months in prison
A court in East Brabant sentenced 45-year old Willy Selten to 30 months in prison for falsifying invoices, delivery notes and written statements, and using these fake documents in meat trading in two companies. Selten denied knowingly tampering with meat and claimed the fraud incident only to be an administrative error in late March.
In determining the sentence, the court took into account that Selten's customers and ultimately the consumers were severely mislead. He saved costs by purchasing cheap horse meat, mixing it with beef tallow and selling it as more expensive beef. Because the companies supplied meat also for foreign customers, the court sees that Selten has contributed to a negative image on Dutch meat industry and harmed other Dutch meat distributors.
The court found it proven that Selten's companies purchased and processed at least 336,000 kilograms of horse meat during 2011 and 2012. However, horse meat processing never showed up in the companies' administration and financial accounting systems nor in the sales invoices and accompanying papers containing the horse meat deliveries, the court states.
Selten was thus held criminally liable for overseeing this as the companies' director. Both of the companies were declared bankrupt in the first half of 2013.
An initial investigation was conducted into Selten's companies was in 2013 when horse meat was found in Ireland and England in products sold as pure beef. Out of 167 samples taken from the companies' meat sold as beef, 35 tested positive for horse DNA. Selten claimed this have being an honest mistake when the cold store placed inaccurate labels on products. His companies would never deliberately mix different meats up, according to Selten.