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Boohoo Tycoon Kamani hit with £118.5 MILLION claim from “THIRD FOUNDER”
A claim for £118.5 MILLION has been lodged against Mahmud Kamani by an IT contractor who claims to be the THIRD FOUNDER behind the fashion retail empire.
Revenue at Boohoo soared by 48% to £856.9m in the year to February 28 2019, with pre-tax profit rising by 38% to £59.9m. The business has more than 11 million customer accounts across its brands worldwide, reportedly selling 50 dresses a minute.
JMW Solicitors is representing Richard Womack, who has brought a claim against Mahmud Kamani, the billionaire founder of Boohoo, for breach of an agreement.
Womack began working with Mahmud Kamani in 1998, providing IT consultancy services for his business, Pinstripe Clothing Co. Limited. In February 2006, Kamani approached Womack to request that he develop a website to sell clothing online, with a Development Contract subsequently formed by which Womack would create the retail website in return for which he would be remunerated and rewarded.
Kamani had no IT knowledge at all and relied entirely on Womack to complete the extensive project independently. The directive was to get the website up and running as cheaply as possible, with Womack working extensively to fulfil the Development Contract. In total, Womack spent almost 2 years building the infrastructure for the website, including developing bespoke stock management software as part of the process.
Womack also created the coding of the website, the database, integrated stock lines, organised and bought equipment for photoshoots, decided the “look and feel” of the website and chose the “Boohoo” logo. He also paid for the hosting of the website out of his own pocket.
When the website was operational and ready to take orders, the very first user in the database was Womack himself. The first order was from Womack, and all initial orders were directed to his email address. When the website launched at the Clothes Show Live in December 2006, Womack designed Boohoo’s stand and was present throughout, helping to collect contact details of interested customers.
Shortly afterwards, a meeting was held at the Company’s office, during which Womack outlined the substantial work he had carried out in relation to the source code and creation of the database, at which point Womack claims he was promised a ten per cent share in Boohoo. On the basis of this promise, Womack agreed to share the source code and database and continued to expend his time working for the Company.
He worked for many years without remuneration for his work on the website - and with no capacity to earn money elsewhere - in the belief that he would enjoy the fruits of his labour. He became heavily involved in the management and control of Boohoo, including negotiating contracts, placing orders, dealing with complaints and working on commercial issues beyond the website, developing key ideas for concepts and running marketing campaigns. In short, he was instrumental in Boohoo’s early success and the trajectory that followed.
But Richard Womack has never been rewarded for the work undertaken for the Boohoo website since 2006.
Womack commented: “When I look back on those years, I remember how much time and energy - how much of my life - was invested in creating the Boohoo e-commerce platform and making a success of the business during the brand’s early years. It has continued to sap my energy since - it’s very galling to have had zero recognition for the part I played and the time, the money and expertise I invested. I’ve never received a single penny for my work on the Boohoo website and it’s just not right - particularly when, the reality is, Boohoo has three founders, not two. We agreed that I would receive a ten per cent share in the company by way of remuneration for the work I did and that’s all I ask for - what was agreed.”
Marc Yaffe, Partner and Head of Commercial Litigation at JMW Solicitors, said: “We are representing Richard Womack as he seeks to secure the agreed recompense for the work delivered for Mahmud Kamani.”