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Unholy row as Baan shareholders sue firm

Dutch Protestants allege double dealing by firm's founders

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A group of devout Dutch protestants is suing enterprise resource planning firm Baan, claiming their religious beliefs were preyed upon to coax them into buying shares in the struggling software firm.

Baan, which was acquired by process and controls manufacturer Invensys last year for £480 million, was named in a lawsuit filed by aggrieved shareholders, along with Baan's founders Jan and Paul Baan.

According to a report in today's Times, the lawsuit alleges that revenues for the firm were mis-stated and shares were sold by the brothers before Baan's financial problems came to light. A spokesman for Invensys confirmed that a lawsuit alleging "that certain statements made by the company in 1997 and 1998 were leading and, as a result, the investors suffered losses" has been filed.

The 270 Dutch Protestants, many of whom are members of the Dutch Reformed Church, the same church as the highly-religious Baan brothers, are asking for 35 million guilders (£10 million) in compensation to settle the dispute. Some of the litigants even attend the same church as the Baan brothers, a situation likely to test the spirit of peace and brotherly love in the parish.

Invensys issued a statement stating that it would defend the case "vigorously". ®

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