Saturday 23 September 2017

Court hears Adam Clayton’s former PA had no authority to write cheques

Nicola Donnelly

THE FORMER personal assistant of Adam Clayton accused of stealing nearly €3m from him had no authority to write cheques to herself or to her family members, a court has heard.

The trial heard evidence from an investigating garda that Carol Hawkins’ role as signatory on two of Mr Clayton’s bank accounts was that she had the “authority to write cheques on his behalf for legitimate expenses.”



Hawkins (48) of Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 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, 862,567.



Detective Sergeant Clodagh White of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation told defence counsel Kenneth Fogarty, SC: “There were no circumstances where she would have to write cheques to herself or her family”.



Defence counsel argued that the U2 bass player’s two bank accounts which Ms Hawkins had access to – the Fitzwilliam account and Danesmoate – were set up in such a way that “if someone was minded to do something dishonest, they would just use the same ATM card and same account and there would be no paper-trail at all.”



“The accounts worked off a Sweep system and the mechanism of the system is there is no paper trail,” said Mr Fogarty.



Det Sgt White disagreed and said, despite having no banking experience herself, there would be a paper trail of withdrawals on a statement.



Detective Garda Martha Coyne gave evidence that an initial complaint of the alleged irregularities in Mr Clayton’s two accounts was made by his solicitor, Philip Lee with a letter attached from Mr Clayton’s accountant Gabby Smith in November 2009.



“As far as I am aware the initial complaint didn’t come from Mr Clayton,” said Det Gda Coyne.



She said she became aware then that a separate investigation by KPMG Forensic Accountants was taking place on ATM withdrawals and another amount of cash, which was not part of the garda investigation.



Mr Clayton who attended the first two days of the proceedings, is expected to give evidence later.



The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury of seven men and five women, and is expected to last six weeks.

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