The man allegedly responsible for last year’s 1080 milk contamination threats, whose name will remain suppressed for at least six months, has had his case elevated to the High Court, due to the seriousness of the allegations. The 60-year-old Auckland businessman faces two charges of blackmail, a crime that is punishable by up to 14 years in jail. According to court documents, the man acted alone and his actions were financially motivated.
In November last year, Fonterra and Federated Farmers received anonymous letters threatening to poison infant formula with 1080, if New Zealand did not stop using the same pest-control by March 2015.
Formula was then pulled from supermarket shelves and held securely, whilst over 150,000 batch tests were carried out. Police dedicated more than 30,000 staff hours to the operation, considering about 2,600 people and identifying 60 of them as of significant interest. Eventually, the investigation ended up costing over $3 million. “It was an extremely serious matter,” commented Prime Minister John Key. “The Government took it seriously because of the potential implications for families, and also our international trading relations.”