UK

Dragons' Den James Caan 'regrets offer to buy baby'

  • 22 October 2010
  • From the section UK
James Caan
Image caption Mr Caan was critical of the international response to the Pakistan floods

Dragons' Den star James Caan has admitted it was "clearly wrong" to offer to buy a baby girl from a family in a flood-hit village in Pakistan.

TV cameras filming his charity work captured the multi-millionaire offering 100,000 rupees (£725) for the baby.

He told the girl's parents his brother desperately wanted to have a baby and would be able to provide the best possible life for her.

Mr Caan said he responded emotionally, rather than rationally.

The entrepreneur, born in Pakistan, was looking for a village he could help rebuild in the wake of the August floods that wrought devastation on his country.

The flooding across a swathe of Pakistan left some 2,000 people dead and affected up to 20 million people.

In one village, Mr Caan came across a newborn and made the offer of money in return for the baby.

His exchange was recorded by ITV News.

"I'm being 100% serious," he said to his translator. "My brother lives here and he desperately wants to have a baby.

"We could give this little baby the best life she could ever have."

However in an interview with BBC Radio's 5 Live, he said he regretted his actions.

"In that moment of emotion, you immediately feel there's something you could do," he said.

"What can you do to increase that child's survival? So I offered to help the family by offering to adopt the baby and then on reflection realised that the baby belongs to the family and the village and I'm really here to adopt a village, not a baby."

He said what he did was "clearly not the right thing to do" and he had not been thinking rationally.

Rosie Shannon, of the charity Save the Children, said: "We absolutely respect what he's doing in Pakistan to help millions of people.

"Taking children away from their families is not really the right route to go down. It's wrong to take children out of their situation," she added.

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