'I never bugged his phone' – banker Elaine Grossart's ex-wife sets record straight after court win

SHE is the former wife of a multi-millionaire banking tycoon, caught up in an acrimonious two-year divorce that has seen allegations of bullying, deceit and covert surveillance.

• Elaine Grossart won a 2.3m divorce settlement last year from her former tycoon husband Hamish. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

And yesterday, the tale of Elaine Grossart took a further twist as she was awarded substantial costs after a bitter court battle.

She then went on to issue a strenuous denial that she had ever bugged the phone of her former husband, Hamish Grossart – a member of one of Scotland's most prominent banking dynasties.

Her comments mark the latest instalment in the story of her marriage to, and divorce from, the nephew of Sir Angus Grossart, the founder of the Noble Grossart merchant bank and one of Scotland's most influential business figures.

At Perth Sheriff Court yesterday, Sheriff Michael Fletcher granted Mrs Grossart expenses believed to total more than 20,000.

At a hearing earlier this year, the sheriff threw out a civil case brought by accountant Andrew Hamilton, who claimed she owed him 7,931 in professional fees.

Mr Hamilton – a former friend of Mrs Grossart and principal of Edinburgh-based chartered accountant Andrew Hamilton & Co – said the money was due for advice during divorce proceedings that saw her land a 2.3 million deal in 2008.

She denied Mr Hamilton had acted as a "professional expert" and said any advice offered to her had been on an informal, friendly basis, without any contract being in place.

Despite claiming she was his client, the court heard Mr Hamilton admit he had failed to carry out proper money-laundering checks on Mrs Grossart – something he said was overlooked because she was "distressed" and "emotional".

Mrs Grossart, 52, told the court Mr Hamilton had been a part of her "Fife set", to which she had turned to discuss her former husband's "bad behaviour".

She claimed Hamish Grossart was a bully, who subjected her to "physical and sexual assault" and stopped her from dancing with other men at functions.

She also accused him of ordering her hair to be cut in a certain way.

Eventually, Mr Hamilton's case was dismissed, with Sheriff Fletcher dubbing him a "Bertie Wooster" character, likening him to the upper-class, but unreliable PG Wodehouse hero.

In reports of the hearings, Mrs Grossart was accused of hiring a private investigator to bug her husband's phone at Pitlour Estate in Perthshire, fearing he was hiding millions of pounds from her following their 11-year marriage. But speaking after her court appearance yesterday, she strenuously denied ever spying on her former husband.

"I did not bug my husband's phone, and I am not sure who planted this," she told The Scotsman.

"If that was the case, I would be in chains myself. It is a criminal offence to bug a phone, and I wouldn't even know where to start.

"You have to have possession of the phone to do it in the first place. I have never bugged his phone – it is a total travesty. If I had been known to tap the phone, I would have been dealt with very severely.

It is a complete untruth."

She added: "I want to set the record straight. I haven't done so in the past, because I have had more important things to do. It has been wrongly referred to in the press all through the case – the judgment is there and can prove that."

Mrs Grossart, who now plans to concentrate on her charity work, said the experience had been "emotional".

"I have got my expenses and I am delighted with the outcome," she said. "I am very relieved. I am at the end of a very long and hard road, and I am glad it is behind me and I can concentrate on what is important to me – being a mum and all the other things I am involved with."

Mr Hamilton described yesterday's sheriff court ruling as "very unfortunate". The exact figure due to Mrs Grossart will now be determined by an audit of the expenses she incurred during the process.

Hamish Grossart could not be contacted for comment.

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