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Big the wealthy live

Four thousand pounds a time on wine, £25,000 on flowers and a "huge stash" of cash kept on top of the fridge... the trial of Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo has offered an insight into the lives of the super-wealthy.

As the trial progressed, details emerged of the spending by the Grillo sisters' employers - multi-millionaire art collector Charles Saatchi and his then-wife Nigella Lawson, whose success as a TV cook has made her wealthy in her own right.

Holidays to luxurious destinations around the world, designer handbags and clothes bought in Paris and New York, and the hosting of dinner parties attended by international stars such as Woody Allen and John McEnroe appeared to be everyday life for the celebrity couple.

Among the details given in court were that the former husband and wife had a 12ft (3.7m) by 12ft (3.7m) "silver room" in their vast west London home, filled with tea services, candlesticks and trays.

The trial heard THAT specialist silver cleaners would be paid £400 once or twice a month, although this was disputed by Ms Lawson, who added that she was glad to see the back of the collection when her marriage ended earlier this year.

Among the defendants' duties in the household was accompanying the couple's children on holidays, with the court hearing that the jetset teenagers enjoyed trips to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam, where they always stayed in the best hotels.

Jurors heard that Mr Saatchi once asked one of the couple's personal assistants, Anzelle Wasserman, to use the credit card he had lent her to spend £2,250 at Shi Cashmere so Ms Lawson could have their range of jumpers in every colour and two styles.

The couple spent £24,866 on flowers at upmarket florist Scarlet and Violet over a 17-month period, while in April 2010 the family splashed out £10,564.43 on VIP tickets for the children to go to the Glastonbury festival.

The sum was part of nearly £29,000 spent on the Tickets To See website between June 2008 and September 2012 for concerts and the theatre, the court heard.

Other payments on the card included £2,240 at Ralph Lauren, and £3,733.95 for "Mr Saatchi's red wine" from Annabel's, while Ms Lawson spent more than £55,000 on designer goods from Donna Karan over four years.

Like the Grillo sisters, Ms Wasserman had been given a credit card attached to Mr Saatchi's account with private bank Coutts to buy items for the household.

Questioned about why the Grillo sisters were expected to buy so much for the household, Mr Saatchi's finance director, Rahul Gajjar, told the court: "Charles and Nigella didn't generally go shopping like most people do. They would have their personal assistants shop for them."

Reference to the money that Mr Saatchi kept at the couple's home came as Ms Lawson was asked if she would use his credit cards to pay for her regular exercise classes, manicures and pedicures.

"Charles kept a huge stash above the fridge," she said.

But despite their massive wealth - said to run into the tens of millions - Ms Lawson said she did not mind getting her hands dirty.

Speaking about weekends in which she would have been happy to spend time with the family and do her own washing up, Ms Lawson said she "complied" with her ex-husband's decision to call in help.

Mr Saatchi also admitted to being uninterested in money and claimed he had "no interest" in the financial side of his business.


From Belfast Telegraph