Tycoon denies sacking staff in rage over dinner

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The Independent Online

A multi-millionaire businessman accused a former member of his household staff of theft yesterday as he denied claims he had sacked the man and his wife in a fit of anger over a chicken dinner.

Property developer Kevin Cash said documents produced at employment tribunal proceedings could only have come from Francisco de Sousa trawling through his personal belongings.

Mr Cash, estimated to be worth up to £500m, said the papers had been in a locked wardrobe to which Mr de Sousa had the keys. Only after the threat of an injunction from his solicitors were the documents returned to him, Mr Cash told the employment tribunal in Reading, Berkshire.

Mr de Sousa and his wife, Maria, claim unfair dismissal after losing their jobs as household manager and housekeeper at North Aston Hall in Oxfordshire. Mr Cash denies he was their employer and denies firing them.

Mr Cash rejected claims that he sacked the couple after he became enraged when his dinner was served at the wrong time. He said the mix-up over dinner was a "trivial matter".