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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 17:10 GMT
'Luxury trip during sick leave'
Joyti De-Laurey
Joyti De-Laurey denies the charges against her
A top City PA accused of stealing millions from her employers, went on a luxury trip to Los Angeles while on sick leave, a court has been told.

Joyti De-Laurey, 34, from North Cheam in Surrey, denies stealing nearly 4.5m from several leading bankers over a two-year period.

She also spent thousands on hotels, cars, jewellery and properties in Britain and Cyprus, the jury was told.

Her husband Anthony and her mother Dr Devi Schahhou deny money laundering.

Southwark Crown Court heard Mrs De-Laurey flew to an expensive Beverley Hills hotel with her husband after saying she needed time off for a hysterectomy.

While there she ran up a bill of nearly 4,500 and ordered an expensive list of extras for one of the cars she bought.

'Flying lessons'

Earlier, the court heard Mrs De-Laurey spent nearly 18,000 on one trip to Cartier jewellers - and more than 72,000 over 12 trips.

She spent another 7,614 on trips to five other jewellers between July and December 2001, the jury heard.

Stuart Trimmer, prosecuting, said she also bought new cars for relatives and ordered a 175,000 Aston Martin and a 150,000 power boat, neither of which were ever delivered.

More money went on designer clothes and travel bills and more than 2,000 paid for flying lessons.

The prosecution has claimed she stole more than 1m from the New York investment holdings of Jennifer Moses and her husband Ron Beller, who were both directors of the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

More than 3m was taken from Edward Scott Mead, another Goldman Sachs director, the court was told.

Vast sum

Mr Trimmer said Mrs De-Laurey's plans had "begun to come together" in January 2002 when she allegedly organised a transfer of 2.25m from Mr Scott Mead's account into her own.

"This is in a different league. This is the largest single act of dishonesty by the first defendant," he said.

"It involved taking what could properly be described as a vast sum of money for the purpose of setting her family up in Cyprus."

False cheques

He said Mrs De-Laurey had faxed the bank in Cyprus to say she would know for sure if the family was moving to Cyprus within the next 14 days.

Mrs De-Laurey, of London Road, North Cheam, denies obtaining money transfers by deception and using false cheques between 27 June 2000 and 26 April 2002.

Mr De-Laurey, 50, and Mrs Schahhou, 67, a Hampstead doctor, of King Henry's Road, Hampstead, north-west London have denied allegations they helped her launder money.

The trial has been adjourned until Tuesday.

Worker 'stole 4.5m' from bosses
20 Jan 04  |  London

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