A French company obtained Romanian horsemeat masquerading as beef for frozen lasagne meals through a Cypriot dealer who had subcontracted the sale to a trader in The Netherlands, a French official said Saturday.
Poujol, the holding company of meat-processing firm Spanghero, "acquired the frozen meat from a Cypriot trader who had subcontracted the order to a trader located in The Netherlands, who in turn was supplied by an abattoir ... in Romania," said Benoit Hamon, a junior economy minister.
Spanghero has said it will sue a Romanian supplier it claims mislabelled the horsemeat that has been found in lasagne meals of the Swedish brand Findus sold in Britain, France, Luxembourg and Sweden.
But it refused to identify the Romanian supplier or any intermediaries involved in the supply chain, and failed to offer any explanation as to why it allegedly resold the meat as 100 percent French beef.
Findus also initiated legal proceedings on Saturday, although the frozen foods giant did not identify an alleged culprit in a criminal complaint lodged against persons unknown with the authorities in France.
The food fraud scandal deepened Saturday as suspicions of criminal involvement mounted.