Wife’s grief over ‘systematic defraud’

The wife of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has told a judge of her “extremely distressing” discovery that her father and brother were “systematically defrauding” her husband.

Tana Ramsay made the allegation as she gave evidence in a high-profile legal action in which her husband is accusing her father, Christopher Hutcheson of using a ghost writer machine to “forge” his signature.

Ramsay claims the machine was used without his knowledge to make him personally liable for the €514,000-a-year annual rental on the historic York & Albany pub near Regent’s Park in London.

He is asking a High Court judge to grant him a declaration that the rental guarantee is not binding because his signature “was not lawfully authorised” when the 25-year lease was signed in 2007.

Film director Gary Love, who owns the York & Albany, has described Ramsay’s allegation as an “absurd” attempt to wriggle out of his rental commitments.

Mr Hutcheson acted as business manager for the Ramsay group of companies until the chef sacked him and Tana’s brother Adam on the grounds of “gross misconduct” in 2010.

Tanya married Ramsay in 1996 and has four children with him.

On the third day of the hearing in London’s High Court she spoke about her “dominating, very clever” father. Mrs Ramsay, a TV presenter, said in her witness statement: “The knowledge that my father and brother had been systematically defrauding my husband was extremely distressing to me.”

She said she was aware of the use of the ghost writer machine, which enabled other people to reproduce her husband’s signature electronically, but thought it was for signing merchandising when her husband was unavailable.

She recalled “the shock on Gordon’s face” and the horror and disbelief when the couple’s solicitor Larry Nathan, of law firm Mishcon de Reya, told her husband that the lease for the York & Albany included a personal guarantee from him for 25 years.

Tana Ramsay said that her husband told her that “it takes everything we have ever worked for”.

The trial continues.


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