December 12 2013 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
It was confirmed tonight that among those arrested as part of Operation Endeavour was Roberto Mac, who runs a prominent High Street recruitment agency in March.
Officers spent much of the day inside the former Salvation Army citadel where Mr Mac runs his recruitment agency employing up to 300 workers in Fenland agriculture and factory jobs. He also has a separate company in Newquay, Cornwall.
Files and computers were removed from the Roberto Mac offices.
Mr Mac insisted he was innocent of any wrong doing and said he had “no idea” how his company came to be caught up in Operation Endeavour and what had led the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to suspend his operations.
He was puzzled as to whether those working for him had been involved but was adamant his books were in order, his records straight and he paid his team at least the minimum wage.
“Yes, I am closed today and have left them to it,” he said, indicating the police officers who remained in his office.
Mr Mac is originally from Macedonia and according to Wisbech taxi driver and driving school instructor Tony Slabber came to the Fens as a student before returning to his home country.
“Robert used to work for me when he came here as an asylum seeker,” said Mr Slabber. “Originally when I came to this country 18 years ago I worked on a farm at Three Holes as supervisor and Robert was a student here.
“He disappeared for a time, went back home and became an MP or something in his home town, and one day I got a call to say he was in London and in a centre. He had fled during the Yugoslav troubles and came back to the Fens,” said Mr Slabber.
After working for Mr Slabber for a while, he left to start his recruitment company and has expanded, firstly by acquiring new offices and then more recently buying an old people’s home in Manea which he is modernising for his wife to run.
Last month he also bought a factory unit on the outskirts of March, formerly owned by Fenland councillor Jan French, and for which permission had been granted to convert to flats.
Last year Mr Mac won an award at the Fenland Enterprise Business Awards and the year before his office conversion was acclaimed at the Fenland Building Design Awards.