Clayton PA credit card limit nearly half annual salary


THE FORMER personal assistant of U2 bass player Adam Clayton, who allegedly stole almost €3 million from him, had a credit card limit nearly half as big her shared annual salary, a court has heard.

Carol Hawkins (48), Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 181 counts of theft from two of Mr Clayton’s Bank of Ireland accounts from 2004 to 2008. The alleged thefts totalled €2,869,274.

Ms Hawkins and her husband John, who was employed as Mr Clayton’s driver, were on a joint salary of €48,000.

Ken Fogarty SC, defending, put it to David McManus, a Garda forensic accountant, that Mr Clayton was undersigning Ms Hawkins’s credit card.

“Why would the bank credit card services offer her a card with a €23,000 limit on her income of €48,000?” Mr Fogarty asked. Mr McManus said he could not comment on why the credit card services would issue the card to Ms Hawkins with such a high limit.

Mr Fogarty also put it to Mr McManus that if there was a problem with the spending on the credit card, Mr Clayton’s accountant, Gaby Smyth, would have detected it, “but no one said anything”.

Mr McManus agreed with Mr Fogarty that Ms Hawkins’s authority to sign cheques was not in doubt but he said it did not mean she was entitled to write cheques for her personal use.

“In my view, being a signatory does not give you carte blanche to sign cheques for personal use,” Mr McManus told Mr Fogarty.

He disagreed that Ms Hawkins held a joint account with Mr Clayton when Mr Fogarty showed him a mandate with Mr Clayton’s and Ms Hawkins’s signatures on it.

“That is not my understanding,” Mr McManus said. “It’s a joint application for a laser card but not a mandate for the operation of a joint account. I haven’t seen sufficient evidence to show it was a joint account. It’s an account of Mr Clayton giving her permission to be a signatory.”

Earlier, Mr McManus told Colm O’Briain, prosecuting, that he had analysed the accounting system Ms Hawkins used to keep a record of payments from Mr Clayton’s two bank accounts, Danesmoate and Fitzwilliam, of which she was a signatory.

He had located only four of the 181 cheques recorded on to the system. He said one entry for a cheque for €15,312 was recorded as being made payable to Moylan Associates project managers but when the cheque was retrieved from the bank, it was made payable to C Hawkins and lodged into her account. He also established that there was a limited number of details on the 181 cheque stubs.

Mr Clayton, who sat through the day’s proceedings, is expected to give evidence this week. The trial continues before Judge Patrick McCartan and a jury and is expected to last another five weeks.