Bid to stop Adam Clayton pursuing Gaby Smyth claims adjourned

U2 musician suing accountant for €10m-plus over failed property and other investments

An application to prevent U2 bass guitarist Adam Clayton pursuing certain claims against his former accountant Gaby Smyth has been adjourned at the High Court.

In two separate actions, Mr Clayton is suing Mr Smyth for more than €10 million in alleged losses, plus damages, as a result of several failed property and other investments.

Mr Smyth has brought a pre-trial application to halt one of the actions, initiated in 2013 and involving a claim for alleged losses of more than €6 million, plus damages. This hearing will resume at the end of November.

Among the various claims in his two sets of proceedings, Mr Clayton alleges he relied on Mr Smyth as his accountant between 2001 and 2010 and for financial and investment advice.


High-risk investments

The musician claims Mr Smyth negligently and in breach of duty advised him to enter high-risk investments when the musician did not want to do so.

Mr Smyth, of Wyvern, Killiney, Co Dublin, denies negligence or acting as Mr Clayton’s financial and investment adviser, as alleged.

He says he acted as the musician's personal accountant and tax agent and Mr Clayton's former personal assistant, Carol Hawkins, prepared his financial reports.

Mr Clayton’s first case, initiated in 2011, involves a claim for €4.2 million in losses allegedly suffered by Mr Clayton after he, allegedly on the advice of Mr Smyth, invested in two funds.

He invested €1.2 million in the Friends First Orion fund, focusing on the UK and Northern Ireland, and €3 million in the Friends First Crystal fund, focusing on potential development land in Ireland.

It is also alleged Mr Smyth failed to disclose Mr Clayton’s investment would enable a third party benefit from the Orion fund, which resulted in increasing the cost of the investment to Mr Clayton.

It is further claimed Mr Smyth failed to disclose a conflict of interest when investing in investments on behalf of Mr Clayton, as a result of which Mr Smyth, it is alleged, was creating a secret profit or commission.

In the second case, initiated in 2013, Mr Clayton claims Mr Smyth has a liability for some €5.37 million in losses after he invested in Romania; for €1.05 million in losses arising from his 2008 investment in Belgium, and for some €270,000 arising from his investment in a pharmaceutical company.

Claims denied

He is also claiming damages on grounds including negligence and breach of contract. The claims are denied.

In his pre-trial application, Mr Smyth wants the High Court to quash a decision of February 2014 effectively allowing the continuing prosecution by Mr Clayton of the 2013 case.

The hearing of that application commenced two weeks ago and was due to resume before the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, on Tuesday afternoon.

However, after a legal issue arose, the parties asked the court to further adjourn the matter and the judge put it back to November 26th.