Lord Sugar fell victim to one of the worst offences uncovered by the Office of Fair Trading’s bid-rigging inquiry.

Amsprop, his property vehicle redeveloped a building in Dover Street in Mayfair in 2003. Mansell, a company that is now part of Balfour Beatty, saw off two other bidders to help work on the building with a tender of £2.9m. But the OFT says it was in cahoots with a rival, Durkan, and gave it a compensation payment of about £60,000 to cover its costs. It is the largest of six such backhanders identified by the watchdog in its investigation.

Lord Sugar said: 'I am very impressed and encouraged that the OFT have done such a thorough job.'

The Times