U2's Clayton secures order against former PA

Friday 18 December 2009 22.27
Adam Clayton - Believes assistant misappropriated funds
Adam Clayton - Believes assistant misappropriated funds

The High Court has granted U2's Adam Clayton an interim order freezing the assets of his former housekeeper and personal assistant below €1.8 million after allegations she may have misappropriated funds of that amount.

Paul Sreenan SC, for Mr Clayton, Danesmoate Demesne, Kellystown Road, Rathfarnham, Dublin, secured the order from Ms Justice Mary Laffoy against Ms Carol Hawkins, Crannagh Road, Dublin 14.

The judge returned the matter to Monday.

Mr Sreenan said the matter went back to September 2008 when Ms Hawkins had come to Mr Clayton and confessed she had misappropriated some €13,000 of his money.

He dealt with this in ‘a compassionate manner’ and kept her on in employment.

However, it had emerged since then that Ms Hawkins, without the authorisation of Mr Clayton, had used his debit and credit cards for her own use and for her family's benefit, counsel said.

On 19 November last, when the allegations were put to her, she had accepted the cards had been used and money was taken without Mr Clayton's authorisation but she had disputed the sums involved, Mr Sreenan said.

Her employment had been terminated. Certain matters had been referred to the gardai, counsel added.

Mr Sreenan said Ms Hawkins had denied she had bought a house, cars or flashy jewellery.

When it was suggested to her she had been withdrawing about €600 twice daily for a period of 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.

Counsel said an investigation had revealed certain sums of money – about €900 per month - was spent on a syndicate which maintained horses.

Mr Sreenan also said flights to Chicago were purchased for her son and members of a band in which he was involved and these bookings were not authorised by Mr Clayton.

An investigation by two accountants, including Kieran Wallace of KPMG, reported that sums of up to €1.8 million seemed to have been misappropriated, counsel added.

It appeared an apartment in New York had been bought and Mr Clayon was concerned assets might be dissipated and that was why he was seeking the assets freezing order.

Ms Justice Laffoy said she would grant the interim orders sought against Ms Hawkins and returned the case to Monday.

The order restrains Ms Hawkins reducing her assets below €1.8 million.