Con­tam­i­na­tion of milk pow­der claim de­nied

The Press - - News - JEN­NIFER EDER

A Ger­man man has de­nied at­tempt­ing to cause ma­jor com­mer­cial losses in New Zealand by claim­ing milk pow­der was con­tam­i­nated.

Max­imil­lian Chris­tian Zucker, 20, al­legedly ‘‘com­mu­ni­cated in­for­ma­tion he be­lieved to be false’’ about milk pow­der at Pa­cific Lab Hold­ings, in Marl­bor­ough, last month.

Po­lice claim Zucker in­tended to ‘‘cause a sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion to com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity in New Zealand’’, likely to cause ma­jor eco­nomic loss to the com­pany di­rec­tor.

Zucker worked for Pa­cific Lab Hold­ings at the end of the pro­duc­tion line, where he stacked pack­ages onto pal­lets be­fore dis­tri­bu­tion, po­lice said.

It was not re­vealed in court how Zucker al­legedly made his claim, or what the al­leged con­tam­i­na­tion was.

Zucker en­tered a not guilty plea at his sec­ond ap­pear­ance at the Blen­heim District Court yes­ter­day.

He was re­manded on bail for a case re­view hear­ing on De­cem­ber 18.

Zucker was in the coun­try on a visa, stay­ing in Marl­bor­ough, and was sup­posed to leave in late Novem­ber.

His bail con­di­tions re­quired him to sur­ren­der his pass­port to po­lice.

He was also banned from go­ing to Pa­cific Lab Hold­ings and from leav­ing Marl­bor­ough.

It was not the first time milk pow­der was at the cen­tre of crim­i­nal charges in New Zealand.

Auck­land man Jeremy Hamish Kerr, 60, sent black­mail let­ters to Fon­terra and Fed­er­ated Farm­ers in 2014, threat­en­ing to poi­son milk pow­der with 1080 if use of the pest con­trol poi­son was not stopped.

The let­ters were ac­com­pa­nied by a pack­age of milk pow­der con­tam­i­nated with 1080.

The Gov­ern­ment took four months to re­veal the threat to the public, con­cerned about the im­pact it could have on con­sumer con­fi­dence and the econ­omy.

Kerr was sen­tenced to eight and half years’ jail on two counts of black­mail in 2016.

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