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Former Wipro salesman sues for £1m in commission

Says it didn't shell out for outsourcing deal

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A salesman who helped Wipro, India's largest outsourcing firm, win the "mother of all outsourcing deals" to supply IT services to Shell is suing the firm for unpaid commission on the deal.

Paul van den Berg, a business development manager at Wipro Limited in the UK between July 2003 and February 2005, is suing Wipro Ltd, the firm's UK arm, for breach of contract to get what he says is unpaid commission of at least £1m on a deal estimated to be worth in excess of $200m.

His solicitor, Hanna Weber of Zimmers Law, said his commission could be worth upwards of £3m since the value of the contract might now be worth as much as $500m.

His claim against Wipro Ltd, filed with the High Court in London, stated that the exact amount of commission owed couldn't be known until full details of the deal were released.

The claim states that Wipro had lured van den Berg from his job at rival outsourcer Infosys, where he had been doing business with Royal Dutch Shell Plc since 1984.

Wipro offered "significantly more lucrative payment terms in particular in relation to commission" because it valued van den Berg's relationship with Shell, it said.

Van den Berg's claim is also made against Mr Kees ten Nijenhuis, who as a vice president of Wipro Europe had offered the salesman a 1.25 per cent commission, it said. The terms were agreed in part verbally with Nijenhuis and top Wipro executive Sudip Nandy, but did not all find their way onto paper.

van den Berg persistently complained that his commission had failed to materialise. The claim said he complained to Wipro chairman Azim Premji about it.

Wipro's defence, filed at the High Court on its behalf by Timothy Pitt-Payne of PWC Legal, denies that it lured van den Berg from Infosys with the offer of a lucrative commission.

It said van den Berg approached Nijenhuis for a job with the suggestion that he could help Wipro win the Shell account. It said that during interviews, Nijenhuis had explained that Wipro's salespeople got incentive payments on top of their salaries, but that human resources would settle the details.

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