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Court hears how Clayton's PA, on a joint salary of (EU)48,000, spent (EU)1.5m on credit

Irish Independent, June 17, 2012
By: Nicola Donnelly

 

The enormity of the spending habits of Carol Hawkins, the former personal assistant of Adam Clayton, were revealed in court during the week.

Ms. Hawkins, who denies embezzling (EU)2.8m from the U2 bass guitarist, bought a New York apartment; almost (EU)1.5m was spent on a credit card held in her name and in the names of her children, Joe and Eleanor; and she owned up to 22 horses with her then husband John from 2004 to 2008, while she and Mr Hawkins were on a joint salary of (EU)48,000.

The 48-year-old, of Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, also paid out more than (EU)430,000 in horse-related expenses from her personal bank account to stud farms and trainers in the U.S. and U.K. during this time.

The mother of two stands on trial accused of stealing the near (EU)3m from Mr. Clayton over the four-year period. She denies the charges.

Ms. Hawkins worked for the musician for 16 years, living rent-free in his Georgian mansion, Danesmoate in Rathmines, with her then husband and two children.

At first, she was his housekeeper, but as his trust in her grew, so did her responsibilities and she became his personal assistant and signatory to two of his bank accounts.

The week's proceedings were tied up with garda evidence of the initial complaint of the alleged irregularities in Mr. Clayton's two accounts and evidence from a forensic accountant, detailing all of the 181 transactions in which Ms Hawkins is alleged to have transferred funds from the musician's two accounts to her personal, joint and credit card accounts.

Forensic accountant David McManus, who completed a full examination of the accounts, gave detailed evidence of the alleged irregular transaction, including further details of spending on Ms. Hawkins's credit card.

He said a total of (EU)330,683 was spent in department stores, (EU)225,688 went on hotels, restaurants and clubs, (EU)153,409 was spent on flights while (EU)82,276 went on online shopping sites.

Between 2004 and 2008, (EU)475,911 was transferred to her credit card account from Adam Clayton's Fitzwilliam account and a further (EU)396,000 from his Danesmoate account.

She also transferred to her credit card a further (EU)260,385 from her own personal account, another (EU)130,800 from her joint account with her husband and (EU)187,000 in cash. There was an average spend of (EU)300,000 a year from the credit card account alone.

Evidence was also heard from a bloodstock insurance broker, detailing the 22 race horses and brood mares which were in the ownership of the couple and the insurance premiums for each horse.

Among those they owned were One Great Lady, Let's Dance, Madame Mosaic and Manipulator.

The annual insurance premiums for the horses were paid out of Ms. Hawkins's personal account, but by 2008 she requested the insurance broker to cancel the renewal premiums for all horses as they had been sold.

Details of the New York apartment, for which Ms. Hawkins paid nearly (EU)345,000, emerged last Tuesday.

Documents seized by gardai at her home included a closing statement for the Rector Place apartment, a letter from an attorney in New York, detailing the purchase, and deeds for the apartment, naming Ms Hawkins as the owner.

Evidence was also shown of a paper trail showing the cheque transfer of (EU)310,000 on April 26, 2007, from Mr. Clayton's Fitzwilliam account to Ms. Hawkins's joint account, plus a further (EU)32,000 cheque transfer.

U.S. dollar bank drafts were drawn from her account several days later and made payable to her New York attorney.

Prosecution counsel Colm O'Briain alleges that Ms. Hawkins purchased this apartment with money that she had taken from Mr. Clayton's bank account without his knowledge.

Ms. Hawkins, who arrived into the Criminal Courts of Justice each morning before 10:30 a.m., covered her head and face with an olive-green scarf and wore sunglasses to prevent herself being photographed by court photographers.

Mr. Clayton, who drove to court last Thursday and Friday in his silver Audi A7, went practically unnoticed as he dined in the CCJ restaurant last Friday with his companions, before returning to the courtroom, where he listened intently to the evidence of the forensic accountant.

The U2 star is expected to give his evidence this week in the trial, which is being presided over by Judge Patrick McCartan.

The trial is expected to last six weeks and involves more than 30 witnesses and a 2,500-page book of evidence.

© Independent, 2012.

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