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The BBC's Nick Higham
"It turned into an expose of the star's famously lavish lifestyle"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 15 November, 2000, 18:02 GMT
Sir Elton's 30m spending spree
Sir Elton John
Sir Elton John arriving at court on Wednesday
Pop superstar Sir Elton John once spent 30m in just under two years - an average of 1.5m a month, the High Court in London has heard.

The singer's lavish lifestyle saw him spend more than 9.6m on property and 293,000 on flowers between January 1996 and September 1997.

The figures were revealed as the 53-year-old singer was giving evidence in a multi-million pound contract battle.

I like spending my money

Sir Elton John
The performer is suing Andrew Haydon, 45, former managing director of John Reid Enterprises (JREL), which for many years was his management company.

Sir Elton alleges Mr Haydon was negligent in allowing JREL to charge him "several millions" in overseas tour expenses - including booking agents, accountants and producers.

He says the cost should have been borne by JREL under a management agreement.

He also accuses City accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers - formerly Price Waterhouse - of negligence in managing his affairs.

Sir Elton defended his spending, telling the court: "I have no one to leave the money to. I'm a single man. I like spending my money."

'Spending mad'

The details came to light as the singer was cross-examined by Mark Hapgood QC, representing PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Sir Elton John and David Furnish
Sir Elton was accompanied by partner David Furnish
Mr Hapgood suggested to Sir Elton that he went "spending mad" following a 42m deal with recording company Polygram in February 1996.

Sir Elton, whose lawyers had tried to prevent details of his spending from being discussed for fear it could put pressure on him, said he had no reason to think the spending figures were inaccurate.

When quizzed by Mr Hapgood about the 293,000 spent on flowers, the singer said: "Yes, I like flowers."

Both Mr Haydon and PricewaterhouseCoopers contest the allegations against them.

Sir Elton has already accepted 3.4m from his former business manager John Reid in settlement of his claims against him.

He told the court that he thought he was being "ripped off" by Mr Reid.

Sir Elton said he had based his relationship with Mr Reid on trust. He admitted he had not carefully read and signed legal contracts.

"I trusted him. He was my right arm - the business side. I was the left arm - the creative side."

'Incredibly generous'

He said they agreed terms in St Tropez in the summer of 1984 - but could not remember the exact occasion on which the deal was made.

You have never trusted anyone as much as I trusted John Reid

Sir Elton John on his former manager
Mr Hapgood suggested he had agreed "an incredibly generous deal with" Mr Reid, amounting to 20% of Sir Elton's gross earnings.

Sir Elton responded: "You have never trusted anyone as much as I trusted John Reid."

"Oh dear, I must have had a very sad life," Mr Hapgood replied.

Oh dear, I must have had a very sad life

Mark Hapgood QC responds
Earlier, Sir Elton agreed he was using the action to recover from PricewaterhouseCoopers money paid to Mr Reid.

Sir Elton was also questioned about his years of drink and drug abuse.

He could not recall an occasion in Easter 1990 when he had arranged for accountants to be flown out to the US to discuss "a serious financial crisis" - but had then refused to meet them when they arrived.

The only explanation he could give was that before July 1990, when he overcame his addiction, he was "a serious cocaine addict" suffering from irrational moods.

The hearing, which began at the end of last month, is expected to last about eight weeks.

Sir Elton was watched in court by his partner David Furnish.

He is expected to be in court for the rest of the week. The case was adjourned until Thursday.

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See also:

01 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton aid denies negligence
30 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton sues 'trusted advisers'
30 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton: Man of means
10 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Sir Elton leads Wembley farewell
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