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London venue paid to break lockdown rules for celebrity birthday party Published Date: 29/01/2021

London venue Casa Cruz, in Notting Hil, was paid £5,000 to breach lockdown opening restrictions to host a party for Rita Ora.

It has been reported that Rita Ora's “team” offered a restaurant £5,000 to break lockdown rules for her 30th birthday.  This was revealed at a licensing review hearing brought by the Met Police, who was represented by Charles Holland.

The licensing sub-committee heard that that DPS Mr Bhattarai admitted he had been "contacted by Ms Ora's representatives and offered £5,000 for the use of the premises that evening".

In a statement to police, Mr Bhattarai said he had accepted the offer "because he was greedy". Mr Holland said Mr Bhattarai was "fully aware the event breached coronavirus regulations.”

The licensing sub-committee also heard that Casa Cruz's CCTV hard drives were blank two days later, with no footage available from the previous month and fire doors were locked during the party, a breach of health and safety regulations.

Home Secretary Priti Patel condemned Ms Ora's behaviour as "wrong and irresponsible".

"We have had a tragic death toll in our country from coronavirus; we are seeing record numbers of people in hospital and a terrible strain on the NHS, and the message is to stay at home and save lives.

"So these celebrities and influencers should be thinking very, very hard about their own actions and what kind of message that sends out."

Casa Cruz said it has since fired Mr Bharratai.

A decision will be made at a later date.

Source: BBC