Clayton has asset-freezing order at €1.8m extended

Tue, Jan 19, 2010, 00:00

U2 GUITARIST Adam Clayton has secured by consent an extension of a High Court order freezing the assets of his former personal assistant and housekeeper who allegedly misappropriated up to €1.8 million of his money.

Mr Justice Roderick Murphy was told yesterday by Emily Egan, for Mr Clayton, the freezing order granted last month preventing Carol Hawkins, Crannagh Road, Dublin, reducing her assets below €1.8 million could continue until further notice by agreement.

Both sides have also agreed a timetable for exchange of documents in the case in which Mr Clayton alleges Ms Hawkins used his debit and credit cards for her own use and for the benefit of her family. However, the court also heard there may be an application by Ms Hawkins to have the matter dealt with via mediation.

His lawyers told the court last month Ms Hawkins was disputing the amount – €1.8 million – alleged to have been misappropriated but had admitted using cards and taking money without authorisation.

Mr Clayton, Danesmoate Demesne, Rathfarnham, Dublin, has claimed the matter went back to September 2008 when Ms Hawkins, who worked as a housekeeper and personal assistant had confessed to using €13,000 of Mr Clayton’s money.

She had been dealt with in “a compassionate manner” and was kept on in her job, his lawyers said.

However, after other matters emerged about her use of his debit and credit cards for her own and her family’s benefit, her employment was terminated and certain matters had been referred to gardaí, the court was told.

An investigation by accountants concluded that up to €1.8 million might have been misappropriated, Mr Clayton contends. Mr Justice Murphy was told yesterday by Kenneth Fogarty, for Ms Hawkins, that there was a clause in her employment contract which allowed for mediation and it might be open to Ms Hawkins to apply for a stay on the proceedings pending any mediation.

Ms Egan outlined a timetable for exchange of legal documents and also noted provision had been made in the freezing order to ensure the defendant’s day to day needs were met.

Ms Hawkins had denied she had bought a house, cars or flashy jewellery, the court has previously heard. When it was suggested that she had been withdrawing about €600 twice daily for 13 months, she said she had used it as needed.

She also acknowledged she had lodged some money into her own bank account and had breached her contract, it was claimed.

An investigation by two accountants, including Kieran Wallace of KPMG, had reported that sums of up to €1.8 million seemed to have been misappropriated, Mr Clayton said. It appeared an apartment in New York had been bought and some €900 a month spent on a syndicate that maintained horses, the court was told.