Robbie Williams told to pay pounds 90,000 to manager

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Robbie Williams, the former Take That star, was yesterday ordered by a High Court judge to pay pounds 90,000 in commission to the man who founded the band which launched him to fame.

Mr Justice Ferris, sitting in London, said Williams was "obliged" to pay the money to Mr Nigel Martin-Smith, his one-time manager, immediately. The sum is likely to increase significantly when other figures for VAT, costs, interest and further on-going commission are assessed at a later date.

The judge delivered his ruling following a hearing in July during which Williams contested the claim by Mr Martin-Smith, who founded the phenomenally successful boys' band in 1990.

Williams, 23, of Greenbank Road, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, who left Take That in 1995, was not present in court yesterday and neither were any of the teenage fans who attended every day of the July hearing.

Since he left the band he has recreated himself with a clean and sober image, reflected in his recently released first solo album, Life Through a Lens.

Mr Justice Ferris said that, until 13 July 1995, Williams was a "member of an extremely successful group of performers of popular music under the name Take That". In October 1990 he and the other members of the group - Mark Owen, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Gary Barlow - entered into an agreement with Mr Martin-Smith under which he agreed to act as manager in return for "remuneration calculated by reference to a percentage share of the earnings or receipts of the group or its individual members".

The judge yesterday rejected Williams' assertion that his obligations under the management agreement were terminated shortly after he left the group. He added: "Since the time when Mr Williams left the group he has refused or failed to pay to Mr Martin-Smith some of the remuneration which he claims to be payable to him under the management agreement."

Williams, who is abroad on business until the end of the year, has until 9 January to swear a legal statement relating to matters raised in the inquiry as to further commission.