Rita Ora has been branded ‘selfish’ by police for holding a lockdown-flouting 30th birthday bash at west London restaurant Casa Cruz in November.
A hearing of Kensington and Chelsea Council’s licensing sub-committee on Thursday heard how representatives for the singer offered the since-sacked manager £5,000 for the illegal opening – and the Notting Hill venue now faces losing its license.
Charles Holland, who is representing the Met Police’s application, said at the hearing, held online due to COVID-19 restrictions, that Rita ‘selfishly wanted to flout the lockdown for financial gain and selfish pleasure’.
‘Selfish’: Rita Ora has been branded ‘selfish’ by police for holding a lockdown-flouting 30th birthday bash at west London restaurant Casa Cruz in November
He said at the hearing: ‘Police were advised that a party was being held on November 28 at the venue, Casa Cruz.
‘They were told large groups of people had arrived via the back door of the club, there was security and loud music was being played and this was all during the second national lockdown.
‘At the time venues had to close and stop providing food and drink,people were told to stay at home and it was unlawful to gather in groups of two or more.
‘What transpired was that the premises was hosting a party for a Ms Rita Ora, a well known celebrity.
Lockdown-flouting: Rita’s illegal gathering held at Notting Hill restaurant, Casa Cruz, is said to have had CCTV footage turned off (Rita pictured far left at the event)
‘The then manager at the time Scotti Bhattarai had been contacted and offered £5,000 for the use of the premises, he agreed and has admitted he was being greedy.’
With most of the venue’s staff on furlough during a time that the country was locked in a second lockdown, he travelled to the venue himself to ‘facilitate’ the bash – an action for which he has since admitted he was ‘greedy’.
It has been claimed that security for the entourage wanted ‘no recordings of the attendees’ with CCTV said to be turned off at between 6pm and 6:30pm at the upscale London eatery on 28 November.
Police found that the CCTV hard drive had been reformatted on the 30 November at 3:15pm, two days after the party, with ‘no stored footage available’ before or the preceding 31 days.
In a statement to police on 1 December, publicly available in a licence review for Casa Cruz which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, former boss Scottie Bhattarai also claimed that Rita’s team allegedly offered £5,000 to use the venue.
CCTV: It has been claimed that security for the entourage wanted ‘no recordings of the attendees’ with CCTV said to be turned off at between 6pm and 6:30pm at the upscale London eatery on 28 November (pictured)
The document claims: ‘The security for the entourage wanted no recordings of the attendees – Rita Ora etc, to be made, hence the DPS decided to turn off the CCTV in the premises at between 1800 & 1830.
‘He also stated that CCTV was faulty prior and scheduled for repair.’
In the report, police found that the CCTV hard drive had been reformatted on the 30 November at 3:15pm with ‘no stored footage available before that time, or the preceding 31 days.’
Mr Bhattarai also claimed that he was contacted by representatives of Ora on Saturday 28 November at 5:30pm in ‘relation to holding an event inside the premises for “drinks and nibbles”‘ where they allegedly offered £5,000 to use the venue.
He said that due to staff being furloughed, he ‘attended the restaurant to facilitate the event’, admitting that he was ‘greedy’.
Footage: Police found that the CCTV hard drive had been reformatted on the 30 November at 3:15pm, two days after the party, with ‘no stored footage available’ before or the preceding 31 days (attendee Cara Delevingne pictured at bash)
Mr Bhattarai added that the group attended the venue at 7pm with a planned 7-8 guests, however, by around 9pm, there were about 17 people, who brought their own alcohol to the restaurant, including bottles of Ora’s tequila brand.
He added that guests who attended the bash were supermodel Cara Delevingne and her actress sister Poppy. They were also both pictured at the event.
The document adds: ‘Mr Bhattarai was aware of the breach in COVID laws, taking full responsibility for facilitating this event without the knowledge of the licensee.’
Mr Bhattarai also stated that at the the time no payment had been taken, he was unwilling to pass on the organiser’s details.
Also in the document, police said that they arrived at the scene at 11:32pm after receiving allegations of a breach of Covid regulations.
Statement: In a statement to police on 1 December, publicly available in a licence review for Casa Cruz which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, former boss Scottie Bhattarai (pictured) also claimed that Rita’s team allegedly offered £5,000 to use the venue
Officers were unable to get a ‘clear view’ through windows, which were blacked out, but were able to spot through gaps mask-free attendees and glasses.
Police say that they knocked on windows and doors but got no response although music is said to have stopped.
MailOnline has contacted Rita Ora’s representatives, Casa Cruz, Metropolitan Police and Cara and Poppy Delevingne’s representatives for comment.
Rita was caught twice flouting lockdown rules in November. The Mail On Sunday revealed that prior to her birthday bash, the singer flew by private jet to Cairo on November 21 to perform at the five-star W Hotel.
She returned the next day and under Government quarantine rules should have self-isolated for 14 days.
Instead of this, she threw a birthday party on November 28 at the exclusive Casa Cruz restaurant in Notting Hill, West London.
For this she apologised with the following statement: ‘Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.
‘It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK… I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk.
‘This was a serious and inexcusable error of judgement. Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.
Claims: Mr Bhattarai claimed that he was contacted by representatives of Ora on Saturday 28 November at 5:30pm in ‘relation to holding an event inside the premises for “drinks and nibbles”‘ where they allegedly offered £5,000 (attendee Poppy Delevingne pictured at bash)
‘I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first-hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe. Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise.’
She paid the hefty £10k fine for breaching these protocols, having been reported to the police, who investigated the restaurant, which, to any passers-by, looked to be closed up.
She was also forced into another grovelling apology for breaching strict coronavirus rules by flying to Cairo and not isolating on return.
Rita said: ‘I recently flew to Egypt to perform at a corporate event for a private company, where my travel party followed protocol and presented negative Covid tests upon entry, as required by Egyptian authorities.
‘Upon my return to Britain, I should have followed Government advice and isolated myself for the required period. As you know, I didn’t follow Government advice and… I apologise again, unreservedly.
Guests: Mr Bhattarai added that the group attended the venue at 7pm with a planned 7-8 guests, however, by around 9pm, there were about 17 people, who brought their own alcohol to the restaurant, including bottles of Ora’s tequila brand (Rita pictured on her birthday)
‘While I realise the apologetic words of a pop star might not carry much weight, especially one who has broken the rules like I have, I do realise some might seek to follow my example.
‘My message to them is simple: please don’t. The guilt and shame I’ve carried this week for my mistake aren’t worth it. Instead, continue to listen to the Government advice and the voices of the heroes of the NHS and take the required precautions.’
She added: ‘I hope to one day make it up to the public who have given me so much support over the years and, in particular, make it up to the heroes of the NHS…
‘In the meantime, I will be donating my fee from Egypt to charity. Be better than I have been and learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to learn the hard way yourselves.’
A spokesman for the star, estimated to be worth £10 million, said she and her team had all subsequently tested negative for coronavirus.
Flouting lockdown: Rita was caught twice flouting lockdown rules in November. The Mail On Sunday revealed that prior to her birthday bash, the singer flew by private jet to Cairo on November 21 to perform at the five-star W Hotel
Police were called to Rita’s party in November and the Met Police gave a statement to MailOnline at the time.
They said: ‘Police were called at 21:10hrs on Saturday, 28 November to reports of a potential breach of Covid regulations at a commercial premises in Clarendon Road, W11.
‘Officers attended and carried out enquiries at the scene. They found no record of any offence being committed.’
Notting Hill restaurant Casa Cruz is named after Chilean-born Juan Santa Cruz, who resigned as restaurateur in February.
Nicholas Fallows, who is listed as the sole director of Casa Cruz London Ltd, insisted he was unaware of the event.
Francois Perrodo, 43, who with mother Carrie are among Britain’s richest business bosses with their £5.8billion fortune, is the majority shareholder in Casa Cruz.
Mr Perrodo is a businessman and racing car driver and has competed in a number of races in his birth country of France.
I’m sorry: Rita offered an apology on social media and said she felt ‘particularly embarrassed’ after her party was revealed
His fortune comes from the oil and gas industry and he is the chairman of the Anglo-French company Perenco, which was founded by his late father Hubert.
A source told MailOnline: ‘He had absolutely no idea this was being held there.’
The director of the restaurant also said they were in the dark on who had approved the party, deepening the mystery over who gave it the go-ahead.
In pictures obtained by The Sun, Cara and Poppy Delevingne as well as TOWIE star Vas Morgan, 31, and Rita’s sister Elena, 32, were seen at the venue.
Rita was also spotted leaving the building while wearing a slinky wrap skirt and black face mask.
A source told the publication: ‘Rita and her sister came to the restaurant first, all dolled up and clearly looking forward to a good night.
‘There were a number of guests, all dressed up very glamorously, and everyone entered the building through the back, with security watching the front to make sure no one else went in. It went on until the early hours.’
Guidelines brought in with the lockdown on November 5 stated that people must ‘not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household, meaning the people you live with, or your support bubble’.