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James Caan, star of UK TV programme â€˜Dragonsâ€™ Denâ€™ has revealed his recruitment agency Eden Brown is likely to appeal the 1.07 million Pounds fine against it, after the firm was found guilty of participating in a cartel that set fee rates for certain construction companies.
Eden Brown, which is owned by Mr Caanâ€™s HB Human Capital investment fund, was one of six construction labour suppliers to be hit with a total fine of almost 40 million Pounds by the Office of Fair Trading. The cartel was found to have fixed prices, and collectively boycotted a new competitor in the market, between 2004 and 2006.
Speaking to Construction News, Mr Caan — whose company purchased Eden Brown in 2007, after the actions for which the firms were penalised took place — said he believed the level of the fine was "unfair".
The dragon added: "The fine relates to activities prior to the purchasing of the company. We were made aware of the situation when we invested in it and we have co-operated [with the OFT]. I canâ€™t comment further, but I think Eden Brown will appeal the decision."
Asked whether he had a message for contractors concerned about the price-fixing scandal Mr Caan declined to comment, reiterating his group had not owned the firm when the activity occurred.
The companies involved in the cartel were Hays Specialist Recruitment, A Warwick Associates, CDI AndersElite, Eden Brown, Fusion People, Henry Recruitment, Beresford Blake Thomas and Hill McGlynn & Associates.
Mr Caanâ€™s reaction follows the response from Hays Recruitment last week which said it was actively considering an appeal after it was hit hardest with a 30 million Pounds penalty. It claimed the fine followed "an isolated matter arising from the conduct of a single employee."