Sunday 17 December 2017

Adam Clayton’s PA ‘signed off’ on U2 star's €50m home refurbishment

U2 bassist Adam Clayton arrives at court. Photo: PA
U2 bassist Adam Clayton arrives at court. Photo: PA
Carol Hawkins. Photo: PA

U2 star Adam Clayton's former personal assistant oversaw payments for the multimillion-euro refurbishment of a number of his luxury homes, a court has heard.

Carol Hawkins, 48, is accused of embezzling €2.8m of the bassist's money from 2004 to 2008. She has denied 181 counts of stealing cheques from two of the star's bank accounts on which she was a signatory.

Clayton, who was expected to give evidence at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin today, sat attentively in a navy jacket and light shirt as his accountant and U2 financial controller Gaby Smith took to the witness stand.

Defence counsel Ken Fogarty probed the accountant on Ms Hawkins' responsibilities during her time as PA to the musician.

Mr Smith said when €50m worth of work was being carried out on his Danesmoate mansion in Rathfarnham in 2008, it was her job to sign off on payments.

Work was also being done on one of Clayton's properties in London and one in Venice - for which Ms Hawkins was also responsible.

"At the same time this was going on, Carol Hawkins was dealing with transactions involving architects, certificates of architecture, interior designers and things of that nature. Is that right?" Mr Fogarty asked Mr Smith.

Under cross examination, the accountant confirmed one of Ms Hawkins' duties as an account signatory was to "sign off payments".

It was around September 2008 that Clayton became suspicious of Ms Hawkins and her spending, the court heard.

Mr Smith said she became hard to contact during that period - particularly on one occasion when Clayton was due to make payments to a certain friend and Ms Hawkins was required to sign off the transactions.

Mr Smith said he thought this was due to distress caused by the break-up of her marriage in 2007.

The mother-of-two worked for the U2 star for 16 years from 1992.

She was originally employed as a housekeeper, but was quickly promoted to PA. She also lived at his south Dublin mansion with her then husband John Hawkins, who also worked for Clayton as a driver.

Earlier in the trial, which is now in its third week, the jury of seven men and five women heard Ms Hawkins had a credit card limit of €23,000 - around half her salary.

The court also heard how she owned 22 horses - including racehorses and broodmares.

The trial, expected to last six weeks, continues tomorrow.

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