Elton John spent £40m in 20 months

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Sir Elton John got through almost £40 million over a 20-month period including spending £293,000 on flowers, the High Court heard today.

Sir Elton John got through almost £40 million over a 20-month period including spending £293,000 on flowers, the High Court heard today.

The 53-year-old singer's lavish lifestyle emerged as he gave evidence in his multi-million pound contract battle.

From January 1996 to September 1997 Sir Elton's spending was just under £2 million a month on average. Expenditure included more than £9.6 million on property, the court heard.

Sir Elton said: "I have no-one to leave the money to. I'm a single man. I like spending my money."

Details of his spending came as he was cross-examined by Mark Hapgood QC, representing City accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the two parties being sued by the star.

Mr Hapgood suggested to Sir Elton that he went "spending mad" following a $60 million (£42m) deal with recording company Polygram in February 1996.

He referred to a report summary prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers of Sir Elton's personal spending from January 1996 to September 1997.

Under the heading of "personal", the accountants had calculated that in that period Sir Elton had spent just under £30 million at an average of £1.5 million a month.

Mr Hapgood asked Sir Elton, who is expected to be in the box for the rest of the week: "Do you have any reason to think that inaccurate?"

Sir Elton: "Probably not. No."

Mr Hapgood: "£293,000 on flowers alone, is that possible?"

Sir Elton: "Yes, I like flowers."

Mr Hapgood: "In same period, over £9.6 million on property?"

Sir Elton: "Yes".

When Mr Hapgood again put it to Sir Elton that he had personally spent nearly £40 million, the superstar replied: "Hmmm."

Mr Hapgood: "Just under £2 million a month on average?"

Sir Elton: "Yes."

The star is suing Andrew Haydon, 45, former managing director of John Reid Enterprises (JREL), which for many years was his management company, and City accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which looked after his business interests.

The star alleges that Mr Haydon was negligent in allowing JREL to charge him overseas tour expenses, including booking agents, accountants and producers.

Sir Elton's case is that the "several millions" which he paid out in touring expenses should have been borne by JREL under a management agreement.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (formerly Price Waterhouse) is accused by Sir Elton of negligence in managing his affairs.

Both defendants are vigorously contesting the allegations against them.

Mr Haydon denies negligence and claims that everything had been done in accordance with management contract terms and conditions.

PricewaterhouseCoopers said that it had looked very carefully at the criticisms made and rejected them and would be asking the judge to rule that the firm's employees had acted according to the highest professional standards.

Sir Elton has already accepted five million dollars (£3.4 million) from Mr Reid in settlement of his claims against him.

The star told the court that he thought he was being "ripped off" by Mr Reid, his former business manager.

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