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Guilty verdicts in ICA meat cheat scandal

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Guilty verdicts in ICA meat cheat scandal
15:52 CEST+02:00
Two employees from an ICA Maxi grocery store in Nacka outside of Stockholm have been convicted for repackaging out-of-date meat and putting it back on store shelves.

The men, aged 27 and 35, were ordered to pay fines equivalent to 40 days' pay by the Nacka District Court for having violated Sweden's food laws.

In addition, the store itself was fined 100,000 kronor ($13,000).

The ICA meat labeling scandal erupted in late 2007 following a report by Sveriges Television's investigative news programme Uppdrag Granskning.

The show included footage of ICA employees putting labels with new expiration dates on packages of meat and reselling them in four different ICA stores.

Four separate preliminary investigations were launched, but three of the investigations were abandoned due to a lack of corroborating evidence.

Last autumn, prosecutor Solveig Sörlien brought charges against the ICA Maxi store in Nacka, arguing the store should pay at least 350,000 kronor in fines.

Although she had yet to read through the court's ruling, Sörlien told the TT news agency following the verdict that she was happy that the court had accepted her arguments in convicting the employees and meting out a fine to the company.

Sörlien had originally argued for bigger fines because she felt the crime was committed by company leaders bestowed with the power to represent franchisers, according to her original filing.

“It's hard to set a corporate fine, there just isn't any precedent. It's possible that the district court thought that it couldn't be proven that this was as widespread as I thought,” she told TT in relation to the court's decision to issue a fine of 100,000 kronor rather than 350,000 kronor.

Sörlien refused to comment as to whether or not she planned to appeal the ruling, saying she needed to read through the judgment in detail first.

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