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Buon Cibo and Whip and Collar 'blameless' in immigration arrests
The bosses of two Rickmansworth venues have protested their innocence after staff working at both were arrested by immigration officers.
Officers from UK Border Agency raided Buon Cibo in Station Road and the Whip and Collar in Uxbridge Road, on January 31 two Brazilian men age 34 and 31 were found working in Buon Cibo while two men, age 25 and 31 from Uzbekistan, were taken from the Whip and Collar. All had overstayed their visas and have been deported.
The venues been warned they could face fines of between £10,000 and £20,000 if they are found to have not carried out the proper checks but Georgie Mergan, manager of the Whip and Collar, and Franco Grieco, owner of Buon Cibo, both insist they were blameless.
Ms Mergan said: "They were on our books, had national insurance numbers and were paying tax. We had no idea they were not genuine.
"One of them had been working for me for a year, another for six months.
"We are not quite sure why the Home Office has treated us like this, they said ‘you’re going to have to pay a fine’ but they have not contacted me since.
"All we have done is hired staff with the proper paperwork."
Mr Grieco added: "I have done nothing wrong, I made all the checks I needed to make and got photocopies of id cards.
"Apparently I was given fake documents, I have no worries at all that I will get fined.
"One of the men was on trial, he had been working here for three days and the other was from the start of the year.
"I have never had trouble in the past so I don’t really know why they came to me rather than any other restaurant."