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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Proceedings against ‘fees cartel’ agent dropped after he accepts disqualification

Proceedings against an estate agent at the centre of a fees cartel case have been dropped following his agreement not to stand as a director of any UK company for five years.

Back in February we reported that the Competition and Markets Authority issued proceedings in the High Court seeking the disqualification of two directors at the centre of the 2017 scandal, in which several agencies broke competition law.

The disqualifications sought were for Michael Martin, formerly a director of Gary Berryman Estate Agents Limited, The Property Group (2010) Limited and Warne Investments Limited, and Graham Thompson, formerly a director of Saxons PS Limited estate agency.

This all followed a decision by the CMA in 2017 that Gary Berryman Estate Agents Limited, Warne Investments Limited and Saxons PS Limited together with four other estate agencies in the Burnham on Sea area of Somerset entered into an anti-competitive agreement to fix a minimum level of commission fees for sales. 

The CMA found that the agents breached the Competition Act 1998 and imposed fines totalling £370,084.

The companies at the heart of the scandal were Greenslade Taylor Hunt, Gary Berryman Estate Agents, Abbott and Frost Estate Agents, Annagram Estates, Saxons PS and West Coast Property Services. 

The latest development this afternoon is that the Competition and Markets Authority has accepted what it calls “a competition disqualification undertaking from Mr Graham Thompson, former director of Saxons PS Limited, under which Mr Thompson undertakes not to act as a director of any UK company for a period of five years.” 

Crucially the CMA adds: “As a result the claim against Mr Thompson will not proceed. Proceedings against Mr Martin are ongoing.”

In addition it’s now been revealed that David Baker, former director of estate agency Abbott and Frost Estate Agents Limited (Abbott and Frost), has also given a disqualification undertaking not to act as a director of any UK company for three years and six months.

Julian Frost, another director of Abbott and Frost, has given a disqualification undertaking not to act as a director of any UK company for three years.

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