Spanghero chief Barthelemy Aguerre told RTL radio Friday that his company in southern France did receive a lot of horsemeat along with beef in its shipments "and we didn't touch" it. He did not provide details or specify whether he reported the horsemeat delivery, saying only, "I will prove my innocence."
Hamon said Spanghero was one company in a food production chain that started with two Romanian slaughterhouses, which say they clearly labeled their meat as horse.
The meat was then bought by a Cyprus-registered trader and sent to a warehouse in the Netherlands.
Spanghero bought the meat from the trader, then resold it to the French frozen food processor Comigel. The resulting food was marketed in Britain and other countries under the Sweden-based Findus brand as lasagna and other products containing ground beef.
Hamon said Spanghero was well aware that the meat was mislabeled when it sold it to Comigel.
But Aguerre, the Spanghero executive, said if there was a customs code indicating horsemeat, his company knew nothing about it.
The Dutch meat vendor involved, Draap, has also denied misleading anyone — though the firm's lawyer acknowledged that Draap's director, Jan Fasen, had a previous conviction for mislabeling horsemeat as halal meat.
No one has been charged yet over the current scandal, although British police on Thursday announced the arrests of three men on suspicion of fraud at two meat plants closed down by the country's Food Standards Agency.
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