An Asian businessman has slammed the Office of Fair Trading after it ruled that he was not 'credible' and prevented him from buying a former Tesco supermarket in Slough. Daily Telegraph
The allegations are embarrassing for the OFT which asked the Competition Commission to inervene last month in the long-running row about Tesco’s ownership of the site, which is just a mile from one of the largest Tesco stores in the country.
The OFT ordered Tesco to sell the site in 2003, but made the referral last month because the superrmarket group had been unable to 'name a credible candidate purchaser'. At the time, Slough-based property and retail group Triple A, which is owned by the Abdeali family, was in talks to buy the site.
Two weeks before it referred the site sale to the Competition Commission, an OFT case officer had questioned the family on its plans for the former Co-op site in a 90-minute telephone call.
'She quizzed the company on how much of the store would be dedicated to ethnic food and whether the range would meet the needs of the whole community,' said a spokesman for Triple A. 'How can you make your judgement on the strength of one phone-call? The family suggested she drive down to Slough to look at their existing operations.'
An OFT spokesman said: 'When deciding the suitability of proposed purchasers the OFT applies the same objective set of criteria in all cases. In this case, the OFT took all the relevant facts at its disposal into account when referring the matter. These are covered in the text of our decision, which is due to be published next week.'