Japanese police are reported to have arrested the former owner of an egg company for allegedly covering up bird flu infections.

According to reports from Jiji Press and Kyodo News, Taiyo Saito, formerly chairman of the IKN Egg Farms Company, is alleged to have colluded with others to obstruct official inspections of chickens for avian flu.

Saito is the fifth former employee of the company to be arrested over the affair. Police believe chickens from two farms in Ibaraki prefecture, the area in Japan most severely hit by bird flu, that were to be inspected were replaced with birds from other farms.