Millionaire 'unsure' how £100,000 a month bills were paid
MILLIONAIRE art dealer Charles Saatchi told a jury he is unsure how credit card bills of £100,000 (€120,000) per month were paid after they were run up by his ex-wife Nigella Lawson and five assistants.
Mr Saatchi's accountant had earlier told the court that the bills were paid in full by direct debit every month from Mr Saatchi's Coutts bank account.
The 70-year-old art collector chose to sit rather than stand as he gave his evidence, and had to be told repeatedly to raise his voice, as the jury was struggling to hear his softly spoken replies.
Jane Carpenter, prosecuting, asked Mr Saatchi about the credit cards held by Ms Lawson and the Grillo sisters.
She asked: "Can you tell me how the credit cards are set out, and how the expenditure on them is discharged?"
He said: "I'm sorry, I don't know."
Asked who paid the money for them, he said: "I'm pretty certain that the company pays off everything and then bills me and then I pay the company back for anything that's personal."
He said he had been "fond" of the Grillo sisters during his 10-year marriage to Ms Lawson, and that he and Ms Lawson's children were particularly close to them, sometimes going on five holidays a year with the sisters.
Asked about the children's ages, he said: "My daughter Phoebe is 19, I think she's 19, a year younger than Mimi (Ms Lawson's daughter Cosima)... Sorry."
The Grillo sisters were sacked last year after details of their spending came to light as a result of a taxi booked by Elisabetta on Mr Saatchi's Computer Cab account to go to a polo match in Berkshire. (© Daily Telegraph, London)