Clayton assistant 'took €4.8m'

Fri, Jul 2, 2010, 01:00

U2 bass guitarist Adam Clayton has sued his bankers and accountants for negligence arising from claims his personal assistant Carol Hawkins misappropriated €4.8 million from his bank accounts over five years.

Clayton claims his accountants had assured him in September 2008 the sum misappropriated was about €13,585 when at that stage it was about €4.4 million.

The musician claims Ms Hawkins allegedly admitted misappropriating what she said was about €15,000 in September 2008 as a result of what she said was great stress from a marriage break-up. He says his accountants assured him it was €13,585. As a result, he had kept her in his employment but instructed his accountants to ensure she would not have access to his accounts.

However, she had misappropriated a further €415,961 between October 2008 and November 2009 by means of laser cash withdrawals of €715.38 a day, it is alleged.

Clayton of Danesmoate Demesne, Kellystown Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin, is now suing Bank of Ireland Private Banking Ltd and chartered accountants Gaby Smyth, Jill Percival and Pat Cleary, practising as Gaby Smith & Co, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Clayton had brought earlier separate proceedings against Ms Hawkins over the alleged misappropriation. In those proceedings, it is claimed an apartment had been bought in New York and an investigation had also revealed some €900 per month was spent on a syndicate which maintained horses.

In the latest case, he is claiming €4.38 million damages against the bank for alleged negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract and is claiming €4.8 million damages against the accountants for negligence, breach of contract and negligent misstatement arising from allegedly failing to detect the alleged extent of the misappropriation.

Clayon claims the Smyth firm had reported to him in September 2008 the total sum misappropriated by Ms Hawkins was €13,585 when in fact the total sum misappropriated between July 2004 and September 2008 “is now known to exceed €4 million”.

The proceedings by Clayton are due before the Comercial Court on Monday when lawyers will apply to have them fast-tracked in that court.