June 21, 2012 16:46

U2 bassist Adam Clayton gives evidence against assistant accused of stealing 2.8 million euro

Bassist joked he wasn't used to being in front of microphone in court

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U2's Adam Clayton has started to give evidence against his former personal assistant, who is accused of embezzling 2.8 million euro from him.

Carol Hawkins is accused of stealing 181 cheques from him over a four-year period and lodging them into her own bank to finance a lavish lifestyle, The Telegraph reports. She worked for the bassist for 16 years from 1992.

Taking to the stand, Clayton joked that he wasn't used to being in front of a microphone. "I'm more of a 'dum, dum, dum', but I will practise my technique,'' he said before telling the court that Hawkins had carried out her duties "efficiently and well" while she worked for him.

He added that he only ever hired people who were capable of doing their job properly. "I trusted people, and that's why we're here today," he said.

Clayton originally employed Hawkins as a housekeeper and book-keeper and her then husband as a driver and occasional chef, paying them a joint salary of 48,000 euro (£38,725).

When she and her husband separated in 2007, Clayton continued to pay her the joint salary. He told the jury that in 2008 Hawkins had confessed to booking herself between 13,000 euro (£10,500) and 15,000 euro (£12,100) worth of flights on his account to visit her children in the US and London.

"She also mentioned that she had been suicidal and had taken an overdose," he said. "In the matter of the money, I accepted she was a distressed woman. Her marriage broke up, her children had gone away…I said we would have to verify the amounts she had been claiming."

He later removed Hawkins as a signatory on his accounts, but kept her as an employee. "She had my absolute trust. We had been together a long time - working together. She had been very conscientious", he said. "I felt she looked after my money and on many occasions accused others of being greedy so I was extremely surprised."

The trial continues.

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