Monday 25 September 2017

Clayton aide admitted spending his money, court told

Nicola Donnelly and Nicola Anderson

A FORMER business adviser to Adam Clayton said he recommended that the U2 member remove his personal assistant as a cheque signatory as soon as she had admitted spending some of his money on herself.

Carol Hawkins (48) has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 181 counts of theft from two of Mr Clayton's Bank of Ireland accounts over a four-year period from 2004 to 2008. The alleged thefts totalled €2,869,274.

Business adviser Gabby Smith told the trial that in 2008 Ms Hawkins went to Mr Clayton to confess she had spent €15,325.70 of his money on airline flights for her own benefit.

Mr Smith, who was recommended as a business adviser to Mr Clayton by U2 drummer Larry Mullen, said Ms Hawkins did not mention to him she had written cheques to herself.

He said it was in September 2008 that he informed Ms Hawkins of the new procedures, that she was to continue being Mr Clayton's administrator, but she was to have no further access to his banking facilities.

He also said she was being removed as cheque signatory to Mr Clayton's two bank accounts -- Danesmoate and Fitzwilliam -- but that she was to have access to a credit card to pay household expenses.

Difficulties

He said prior to 2007, when he became aware Ms Hawkins was having marriage difficulties, her work "appeared to be efficient".

"I found it more difficult to get in touch with her when I became aware of her marriage difficulties," he said, explaining he was required to receive monthly data to compile a report from Ms Hawkins.

He told counsel he did not reconcile the two accounts as this was part of Ms Hawkins's role, but that if he had been aware of cheques being written by Ms Hawkins being lodged to her own accounts for large amounts he "would have been concerned".

Mr Smith agreed with defence counsel Ken Fogarty that Ms Hawkins had unlimited authority to make payments on Mr Clayton's behalf since the 1990s.

He said from 2004 to 2008, Ms Hawkins, of Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, was responsible for making payments to architects and interior designers for major renovation works of nearly €20m for Mr Clayton's properties in Ireland and France.

Mr Fogarty put it to Mr Smith that "ordinary mortals might not know the scope and scale of responsibility Ms Hawkins had to keep the show on the road, 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

"It was a committed job," said Mr Smith.

Mr Clayton (52), who sat through the day's proceedings, is expected to give evidence today.

Irish Independent

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