CLIVE FREEDMAN Q.C. AND ALEXANDER ROBSON WIN IN HIGH PROFILE CLAIM FOR $10M COMMISSION
Clive Freedman QC leading Alexander Robson both of Littleton Chambers instructed by TLT solicitors appeared for the successful claimant in the High Court in the case of Daad Sharab v Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal (2013) EWHC 2324 (Ch). Judgment was handed down on 31 July 2013 by Mr Justice Peter Smith. The claim was for $10 million commission arising out of a sale of an aircraft by HRH Prince Al-Waleed of Saudi Arabia to Colonel Gaddafi. The case came into the English jurisdiction after a challenge which went to the appellate courts on the basis of a contract made in England.
The Claimant, a Jordanian businesswoman Daad Sharab, claimed that the Prince had agreed to pay her commission in return for services in procuring the sale of the aircraft. The case was that the contract had been made in England between Mrs Sharab and a representative of the Prince originally for a commission of $2 million and that this was subsequently varied in Libya between Mrs Sharab and the Prince to a commission of anything received over $110 million. In the event, the aircraft was sold for $120 million.
The Prince denied that a fixed commission had been agreed upon, saying that any commission was subject to his discretion depending on his perceived value of her role in concluding the sale. He also said that the decisive events which led to the sale had been his and not Mrs Sharab’s.
Clive Freedman’s cross examination was the subject of extensive press coverage. In the end, with no written agreement or even contemporaneous document evidencing the agreement, the case came down to the Prince’s word against that of Mrs Sharab’s. It turned on cross examination of the two parties, the only witnesses of fact in the case.
The Judge found that the agreement had been made and varied as Mrs Sharab said. He found that the Prince had continually attempted to reduce Mrs Sharab’s role in negotiating the sale of the aircraft. He noted that it was Mrs Sharab who facilitated the key developments leading to the sale. He found that it was ‘impossible to exaggerate her importance in the deal’. The Judge ‘overwhelmingly concluded’having seen both give evidence that he preferred Mrs Sharab’s case, awarding her the full $10 million unpaid commission.
Some press coverage: