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Elton John considers legal appeal

April 11, 2001
Web posted at: 12:54 PM EDT (1654 GMT)

LONDON, England -- Sir Elton John is considering an appeal after losing a multi-million dollar legal action against his accountants.

The 53-year-old singer had sued Andrew Haydon, former managing director of John Reid Enterprises (JREL), which for many years was the star's management company, and City accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, which looked after his business interests.

Judge Mr Justice Ferris ruled it was not negligence for JREL to have charged the singer for the cost of overseas tours.

In a statement Sir Elton said: "Obviously I am disappointed and I am considering with my lawyers the question of appeal, which seems likely.

"As everyone in business knows, it is notoriously difficult to succeed in a claim for negligence against professional advisers."

During the hearing, Sir Elton's evidence hit the headlines when it emerged that his spending on property and personal items -- including 293,000 on flowers -- once amounted to almost 40 million over a 20-month period.

The star alleged Haydon, 45, was negligent in allowing JREL to charge him overseas tour expenses, including booking agents, accountants and producers.

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

The defendants vigorously contested the allegations against them.

In his judgement, Justice Andrew Ferris described John, who was knighted in 1996, as a man of "uncommon generosity" and "great intelligence."

"Sir Elton is clearly a man of an uncommonly generous disposition. He likes spending money on himself and on gifts or other benefits to friends," he said.

"But he has little or no interest in business matters and does not bother to understand matters which do not interest him."

Ferris said the losses John sought to recover from the accountancy firm "could not on any view be recovered by him."

On the case against Haydon, Ferris said the allegations "would not in my judgement have amounted to negligence on the part of Mr Haydon as a director of Sir Elton's companies."

PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a statement the company was delighted with the decision: "This was a case wholly without merit and resulted in misguided proceedings being brought.

"Serious allegations were made by Sir Elton about the competence of our partners and staff - Mr Justice Ferris found these were totally unfounded."

Sir Elton had already accepted $5 million dollars (3.4 million) from John Reid, 51, his former lover and manager, in settlement of his claims against him.

Reid was not a party to the action before Mr Justice Ferris, but the case centred on what was agreed between Sir Elton and him during a 1984 holiday in St Tropez over who would pay overseas touring costs.

Sir Elton's case was that he agreed at St Tropez that Reid would get 20 percent gross of "everything", instead of the previous arrangement of 20 percent net, in exchange for looking after everything in his business life, including overseas touring costs.

Reid, who was called to give evidence by PricewaterhouseCoopers, told the court he would never have agreed to pay touring costs and claimed it was never raised during the 1984 meeting.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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