independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Lawson and Saatchi spent £25,000 on flowers in 18 months

Sisters Elisabetta (left) and Francesca Grillo arriving at court.
Sisters Elisabetta (left) and Francesca Grillo arriving at court.

Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi spent almost £25,000 (€29,800) on flowers for their home in less than 18 months and more than £10,000 on six tickets for Glastonbury Festival, a court has heard.

Mr Saatchi also spent more than £2,250 buying Ms Lawson made-to-measure cashmere jumpers in every colour and style available.

Details of the couple's lavish spending during their 10-year marriage were disclosed to a jury trying two former aides who are accused of fraudulently spending £685,000 on company credit cards.

Ms Lawson and five aides, including the two defendants, were issued with company credit cards paid off by Mr Saatchi every month by direct debit. The total spending on the credit cards was up to £1.2m per year.

Anzelle Wasserman, who began working as a tutor to the couple's children but later became a personal assistant, was asked about spending on a company credit card with which she had been issued.

It included £24,866 spent at Scarlet and Violet in 21 transactions ranging from £755 to £1,825, which she said was for flowers for the couple's home.

"They came once a week and arranged big vases of flowers," she said.

Asked about a payment for £10,564.43 to a company called Tickets to See, she said: "That was for Glastonbury tickets for the children. They all took a friend with them and they were VIP tickets."

CREDIT CARD

Her credit card was also used to buy £5,520 of goods from Shi Cashmere, which Ms Wasserman said was "made-to-fit cashmere jumpers. Mr Saatchi wanted her to have all the colours in two different styles".

Other transactions included £4,744 for an exercise bike from Harrods, £3,733 on wine from Annabel's Wine Cellar, £2,240 on "blankets, bedding or towels" from Ralph Lauren and £2,109 paid to a car service.

In total, Ms Wasserman's credit card was used to buy £28,833.70 of theatre and concert tickets.

The court was also told of an email sent by the Grillo sisters after they were confronted with evidence of their spending.

It said: "We are at our utmost despair and we are reaching out to you in the sincere hope that somewhere in your hearts you will find a way to forgive us and believe that we never meant in any way to be seem to be disloyal or to seem like we took advantage of our positions.

"We truly believe that we had a bond like a family. You were, as you often said to us, our English family and we saw you like a mother and father figure in our lives over these 10-14 years that we have known you.

"There is not a worst feeling thinking we have in any way let down our family and we are deeply sorry and full of regret.

"All we want to do is put this right and make amends.

"We have asked our lawyers to try and settle this ongoing nightmare and we plead with you to find a way in your hearts so that we can stop the fighting which is destroying us and make amends with you as soon as possible. This is all we wanted to do from the beginning of this whole nightmare.

"From the bottom of our hearts we extend an olive branch in the hope that you will understand we never, ever meant to hurt in any way.

"Please forgive us and help us put this right."

Francesca Grillo and her sister Elisabetta Grillo, who worked for Ms Lawson for more than a decade, deny defrauding Mr Saatchi out of £685,000 they spent on the credit cards. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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