Rita Ora ‘paid venue £5k to break Covid rules and asked for CCTV to be turned off’, say police

Singer previously apologised for breach of regulations

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 28 January 2021 17:47
Piers Morgan and Lorraine Kelly criticise Rita Ora for lockdown birthday party
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Rita Ora's team paid a restaurant £5,000 to break lockdown rules for her 30th birthday in November, according to police.

In a licensing hearing at Kensington and Chelsea Council, police also said the pop star’s team asked for CCTV cameras to be turned off during the party at Casa Cruz in Notting Hill.

When contacted by The Independent, the singer’s representatives supplied Ora’s previous apology for the party in which she said she was “deeply sorry and embarrassed” and claimed the event was “a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be ok”.

On the day of the party, Ora should have been isolating for two weeks following a trip to Egypt. The gathering – attended by model Cara Delevingne and her sister Poppy, according to police – also broke the rules that prevented households from mixing indoors.

During the licensing review for Casa Cruz, police said the general manager of the restaurant Scottie Bhattarai admitted he had been “contacted by Ms Ora's representatives” on the day of the party and "offered £5,000 for the use of the premises that evening".

In a statement to police, Bhattarai said he had accepted the offer "because he was greedy".

He said between 15 and 20 people were at the party.

Police also said they found that Casa Cruz's CCTV hard drives were blank two days later, with no footage available from the previous month.

The venue is accused of breaching licensing rules by not allowing police into the premises and failing to provide them with CCTV footage. It may have its licence revoked but a decision has not yet been made.

Bhattarai, who has been fired by the restaurant, is also subject to a criminal investigation.

Ora has donated her fee from her concert in Egypt to charity and paid a fine for breaching lockdown rules.

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