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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 16:12 GMT
PA 'siphoned house deal cash '
Joyti De-Laurey
Joyti De-Laurey denies the charges against her
A City PA used her employer's purchase of a New York town house to order a series of money transfers for her new life in Cyprus, a court has heard.

Joyti De-Laurey is accused of stealing nearly 4m from Edward Scott-Mead and two other Goldman Sachs bankers.

An adviser to Mr Mead told Southwark Crown Court she never suspected anything was wrong and "happily" processed the transactions.

Mrs De-Laurey, 35, from North Cheam, Surrey, denies the charges.

The Crown has claimed the personal assistant used the money to buy a 750,000 seafront villa in Cyprus where she planned to start a new life.

Multi-millionaire

Other spending sprees included a 300,000 Cartier collection, designer clothes, a power boat and expensive cars.

Giving evidence on the 10th day of the trial, client analyst Terri Voight said she believed the money transfers being sent to Cyprus were to pay for multi-millionaire Mr Mead's new home in the US.

"People of this calibre with this amount of money have homes all over the world," she said.

"They have a London home, a country home, a New York home and probably a vacation home."

Cyprus villa
Mrs De-Laurey 'planned a new life at the Cyprus villa'

She said it was "not unusual" for clients she dealt with to spend their money in this way.

Mrs Voight told the court that Mrs De-Laurey would regularly phone her with account balance inquiries or with money movement transactions.

She said she found her "extremely chatty" and got to know about her family and her planned move to Cyprus.

But she insisted the defendant never mentioned her maiden name was Schahhou, the holder of the Bank of Cyprus account which the money was being sent to.

She claimed she was led to believe that Schahhou was the name of the owner of the New York house and the transfers were part of the payment process.

Charges denied

She denied suggestions from defence counsel Jeremy Dein that she had been mistaken about her understanding as to who Schahhou was.

The Crown alleges that Mrs De-Laurey also stole more than 1m from Ron Beller, 41, another former partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs and his wife Jennifer Moses.

Mrs De-Laurey denies a total of 21 charges of obtaining money for transfers by deception using "false instruments", between 27 June, 2000, and 26 April, 2002.

Her husband Anthony, a 50-year-old former chauffeur, and her GP mother, Dr Devi Schahhou, 67, of Hampstead, north-west London, have each pleaded not guilty to associated money laundering charges.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.




SEE ALSO:
PA 'was paid to cover up affair'
02 Mar 04  |  London
City banker 'did not give PA 1m'
27 Feb 04  |  London
Banker's 'generosity' towards PA
27 Jan 04  |  London
'Luxury trip during sick leave'
21 Jan 04  |  London


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