Goldman Sachs PA: Boss gave me cash after affair 'cover up'

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The Independent Online

A city secretary told a court yesterday how her boss had accused her of stealing millions of pounds from his account and then begged her to keep quiet about his adulterous affair.

A city secretary told a court yesterday how her boss had accused her of stealing millions of pounds from his account and then begged her to keep quiet about his adulterous affair.

Joyti De-Laurey says she was given the money after helping to cover up the alleged adultery of a Goldman Sachs banker, Edward Scott Mead.

She said that in a showdown with Mr Mead on the day she was arrested in May last year he told her that his "possessive" wife was to blame for the dishonesty allegations she was facing. He then promised her that if she co-operated by returning some of the cash, he could easily "rectify the situation".

She told Southwark Crown Court in London that although she was in a "very scary situation" she agreed to do as he asked. "All I needed to do was to make a payment, to show willing, to pay back, to accept the allegations that I had taken the money, or stolen the money, in this case, then to sort his diary out for three days and then to quietly disappear."

She said she regarded him as a very powerful individual who had connections with both the White House and Downing Street and "could do anything he wanted".

Ms De-Laurey, 35, from North Cheam, Surrey, denies 20 charges of obtaining money transfers by deception and using "false instruments" between 15 February 2001 and 26 April, 2002. Her husband, Anthony, 50, a former chauffeur, and her mother, Dr Devi Schahhou, 67, a general practitioner from Hampstead, north-west London, both plead not guilty to associated money-laundering allegations.

The prosecution alleges that the secretary first stole £1.1m from Ron Beller and his wife Jennifer Moses, both managing directors at the investment bank, before swindling Mr Mead out of more than three times that amount.

Stuart Trimmer, for the prosecution, has told the court that she spent the moneyon a £300,000 Cartier collection, a number of cars, designer clothes and properties in Britain and abroad.

She said the payments were a "reward" for her competence in dealing with a host of issues concerning the private lives of some of the senior staff. These included making sure Mr Mead's wife, his colleagues, and clients did not find out he was having an affair. Ms De-Laureysaid her bosses had allowed her to forge their signatures on cheques and cash transfer authorities.

The trial continues.