Tuesday 26 September 2017

Clayton PA had €23,000 credit card limit, trial told

Adam Clayton: the U2 bass player at court yesterday
Adam Clayton: the U2 bass player at court yesterday
Carol Hawkins: outside court at an earlier hearing

Nicola Donnelly

THE former PA of U2 star Adam Clayton, who allegedly stole almost €3m from him, had a credit card limit of €23,000, a court heard yesterday.

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.

Defence counsel Ken Fogarty put it to David McManus, a garda forensic accountant, that Mr Clayton was undersigning Ms Hawkins's credit card.

"Why would the bank credit card services offer her a card with a €23,000 limit on her income of €48,000?" Mr Fogarty asked.

Mr McManus said he could not comment on why the credit card services would issue the card to Ms Hawkins with such a high limit.

The lawyer also put it to Mr McManus that if there was a problem with the spending on the credit card, Mr Clayton's accountant Gabby Smith would have detected it.

"But no one said anything," continued Mr Fogarty.

Mr McManus agreed that Ms Hawkins' authority to sign cheques is not in doubt but said it did not mean she was entitled to write cheques for her personal use.

"In my view being a signatory does not give you carte blanche to sign cheques for personal use," Mr McManus said.

He disagreed that Ms Hawkins held a joint account with Mr Clayton when Mr Fogarty showed him a mandate with the signatures of Mr Clayton and Ms Hawkins on it.

"That is not my understanding. It's a joint application for a laser card but not a mandate for the operation of a joint account," Mr McManus said.

Earlier, Mr McManus said that he analysed the Quickbook Accounting system Ms Hawkins, of Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, used to keep a record of payments made from Mr Clayton's two bank accounts -- Danesmoate and Fitzwilliam -- which she was a signatory of.

He said he only located four of the 181 cheques recorded on to the system.

He said one entry for a cheque for €15,312 was recorded as being made payable to Moylan & Associates Project Managers but when the cheque was retrieved from the bank, it was made payable to C Hawkins and lodged into her personal account.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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