Sting's adviser tells of shame over pounds 6m losses

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The Independent Online
The rock star Sting's former accountant claimed in court yesterday that he hid huge business losses from the performer because he was too embarrassed to own up to them.

Keith Moore, 51, who is accused of stealing pounds 6m from the actor and singer, said he had hoped that a series of risky investments - using Sting's money - would eventually become successful. The ventures included a chain of Australian curry houses and a project to turn Russian military planes into passenger aircraft.

Mr Moore said it was his job to resolve, not give problems to Sting. He said their relationship relied on "mutual trust".

Mr Moore, who has denied using Sting's money for his own interests, insisted that once it became clear the money was lost he had been waiting for the right moment to tell his employer. He agreed with his defence counsel, Nicholas Purnell QC, that he planned to "sugar the pill" by telling him once it became clear how much he had saved the star in royalty negotiations with his record company, A&M Records.

But before the $24m saving emerged, he was confronted by Sting's lawyers. Sting has told the court that a tip-off alerted him to the alleged fraud.

Mr Moore said he was ashamed about what had happened, but denied making any admission of dishonesty. "Absolutely not," he said."There was no wrongdoing."

Mr Moore, of Fulham, south-west London, denies 15 sample charges of stealing from Sting's personal bank accounts and from a company account between 1988 and 1992.

Cross-examined by Ian Stern, for the prosecution, Mr Moore agreed that although he sent Sting regular statements about some of his bank accounts he never provided information about an account the singer had with the Bank of Scotland.

The prosecution claims Sting never knew his money was being used to fund largely unsuccessful schemes and that it was illegally transferred from Coutts and Company to Gramelda Investments Ltd through the Bank of Scotland account.

Mr Moore denied telling a bank manager Gramelda was his company or that the money behind it was his. He says that while the former lead singer of the Police did not know the details he had approved the "general principles" of the investment strategy.

The trial continues today.