An Auckland businessman accused of threatening to contaminate infant formula with the poison 1080 was financially motivated, charge sheets allege.
The 60-year-old man, who appeared in Manukau District Court this afternoon facing two charges of criminal blackmail, cannot be named for at least six months.
The defendant was granted interim name suppression by Judge David McNaughton, with the backing of both Crown and defence, until at least April of next year because of unrelated matters.
Several company names were also suppressed.
According to charge sheets the man:
"Threatened expressly to endanger the safety of any person, namely infants, by releasing infant milk formula into the Chinese market contaminated with traces of 1080, with intent to cause Federated Farmers Incorporated to act in accordance with the will of [the defendant] to cause Federated Farmers to pressure the New Zealand Government to stop the use of 1080 in New Zealand."
The charge sheets allege the action was financially motivated.
Dressed in a maroon jersey and jeans, the accused stood silently by a security guard in the dock throughout the hearing.
He was remanded in custody and did not apply for bail.
He will be back in court later this month when he will have to enter pleas to the charges.
Police said they believed the defendant acted alone and no one else has been charged.
The charges of blackmail are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Timeline of the threat and response
• November 27, 2014: Fonterra and Federated Farmers receive a letter threatening to contaminate infant formula.
• On the same day a watch group of government agencies is formed to consider the threat. The Prime Minister, the Minister for Primary Industries, the Minister for Food Safety, the Minister of Police, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister for Trade.
• January 15, 2015: Milk testing methods validated, and the sampling strategy approved.
• February 10: First meetings with affected infant and other formula manufacturers.
• February 11: Initial meetings with major global suppliers.
• February 13: Food and Grocery Council chief executive told of the threat.
• February 18: Initial meetings with New Zealand supermarket chains.
• February 25: Labour leader Andrew Little told of threat.
• March 10: Public announcement at media conference.
• October 13: Arrest made.