Andronicos Sideras, owner of Dinos and Sons Ltd, conspired with Ulrich Nielsen and Alex Ostler-Beech, of Flexi Foods, to sell horsemeat as beef over a 10-month period in 2012.
The case, investigated by the City of London Police, is a significant landmark for the FSA who first began looking into the circumstances behind the adulteration of meat products with horsemeat in 2013.
Heather Hancock, chairman of the FSA, said:
“This guilty verdict is a welcome outcome. It sends a strong message that we will not tolerate fraudulent activity and I hope today’s conviction is a major deterrent to those who think they can profit from duping consumers.
“Since the horsemeat incident, the FSA, along with the meat industry, has made great efforts to reduce this kind of criminality. The establishment of the FSA’s National Food Crime Unit (NFCU) has given the general public, the food industry and law enforcement partners at home and abroad for the first time, a dedicated single point of contact to share suspicions about dishonesty within food supply chains. And although fraud evolves and is inherently unpredictable, the combination of these measures should mean that another incident of this nature is less likely.”
“I would like to thank City of London Police for working closely with the FSA to ensure food criminals are brought to justice.”
The FSA passed the investigating responsibility to the appropriate police force, City of London police in 2013, after it became apparent the evidence was suggesting potential fraudulent criminal activity beyond that which the FSA or local authorities would be in a position to pursue.
The FSA provided assistance to City of London Police, supplying information and advice as part of their investigations.
On the 26 August 2016 Alex Ostler-Beech and Ulrik Nielson pleaded guilty to charges with conspiracy to defraud. Andrew Sideras pleaded not guilty and went on trial 10 July 2017.
The men will be sentenced in due course.