U2 bass player Adam Clayton was astounded when cops told him his housekeeper had spent $600,000 of his money on horses.
Carol Hawkins is currently on trial in Dublin, accused of stealing almost $4million from the rock star’s bank accounts.
Clayton took to the witness stand in the case at Dublin’s Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday when he expressed his ‘absolute astonishment’ at the money spent on horses.
The Irish Times reports that he told he has ‘no interest in horses or gambling’ and that they money spent by his former personal assistant was not for his benefit.
The 48-year-old Hawkins has pleaded not guilty to 181 counts of theft from two of Clayton’s Bank of Ireland accounts between 2004 and 2008.
The court heart how Hawkins and her former husband John enjoyed interests in up to 22 thoroughbred racehorses when they were on a joint salary of just $60,000 from Clayton.
The U2 star told the court that he had ‘never’ owned a horse but was aware that Hawkins and her husband were keen on the sport.
“I never owned a horse but many years ago I was invited to be part of a syndicate for a horse named after The Unforgettable Fire, a record by U2. But the horse ended up with a splint and never ran,” said Clayton.
He also told the court that he had lent John Hawkins $25,000 in the late 1990s to buy a horse and this money was repaid to the best of his knowledge.
Clayton added: “I’ve been lucky to follow my dreams so I lent him the money in the knowledge it would be paid back and I believe it was paid back.”
The musician was not told nor was he ever aware until a police investigation that his bank account had funded the $600,000 investment in horses by the accused and her husband.
“It was astonishing and revealed a whole side of Carol Hawkins I had never seen before,” he said.
The Irish Times reports that Clayton said he first met Ms Hawkins and her husband when they ran a hotel on a Caribbean island in 1992.
Due to her extensive experience, he employed her to run his house Danesmoate, a Georgian property in the Dublin suburb of Rathfarnham.
“I wanted someone to do the shopping, cooking and run my house while I was away,” he said.
Hawkins was promoted to his personal assistant and became responsible for signing cheques for his personal and household expenses.
Clayton also told the court that ‘no knowledge’ of Hawkins purchasing an apartment in New York in April 2007 for $440,000 with money she is alleged to have transferred from his bank account by cheque in his name, signed by her and lodged into her own bank account.
He admitted his reaction was one of ‘amazement’ when it came to light that Hawkins owned a New York apartment.
“I had no idea Carol had that kind of financial resources,” he said.
He also said he ‘did not consent’ to any of the alleged 181 cheque payments to be made by
Hawkins to her personal, joint and credit card accounts.
The report states he said Hawkins had permission to sign cheques on his behalf only for household expenses at Danesmoate and to sign cheques for payments recommended and approved by a steering group for the €15 million renovation works at the Rathfarnham house.
Clayton disagreed with counsel for the accused that Hawkins was responsible for purchasing all of the furnishing items for his home.
“I would buy things I wanted around me, Carol Hawkins bought the cornflakes,” he said.
“I never sanctioned her to write cheques to herself. It’s my money.” The trial continues.