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Grillo sisters cleared of fraud

Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo, former assistants to Nigella Lawson, are "naturally relieved" after being cleared of fraud, says their solicitor outside court.

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Two former personal assistants to Charles Saatchi and his ex-wife celebrity chef Nigella Lawson have been cleared of fraud.

The jury at Isleworth Crown Court, west London, found Italian sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo not guilty of a single count of fraud each.

Lawson said she was "disappointed but unsurprised" by the acquittal of her two former employees.

Nigella Lawson leaves Isleworth Crown Court on December 5, 2013 in London, England. Italian sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, who worked as assistants to Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, are accused of defrauding them of over 300,000 GBP.

Nigella Lawson leaves Isleworth Crown Court earlier this month.

"Over the three-week trial the jury was faced with a ridiculous sideshow of false allegations about drug use which made focus on the actual criminal trial impossible," she said.

It was alleged that between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2012, the women committed fraud by abusing their positions as PAs, using a company credit card for personal gain - and were accused of spending more than STG685,000 ($A1.27 million) on themselves.

Elisabetta, 41, sometimes referred to in court as Lisa, and Francesca, 35, both of Kensington Gardens Square, Bayswater, west London, had been accused of living the "high life".

Fraud charges: Sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo arrive at Isleworth Crown Court in  London.

Sisters Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo have been cleared of fraud. Photo: Reuters

The court heard they used credit cards loaned to them by the TV cook and her ex-husband Saatchi to buy designer goods from Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Vivienne Westwood.

Francesca was accused of spending the largest amount on herself - a sum of STG580,000.

But the sisters insisted all of their purchases had been authorised.

And in a sensational twist their defence lawyers introduced allegations of drug-taking by Lawson and marital strife involving the celebrity couple.

It was claimed by the defence that there was a culture of secrecy within the high-profile couple's marriage and that the Grillo sisters were aware of Lawson's alleged drug use, while Saatchi was not.

The defence claimed that Elisabetta's knowledge of Lawson's supposed drug use materially affected the TV cook's attitude towards her spending.

After the three-week trial, the jury of seven men and five women rejected the prosecution's claims that the purchases on the cards had been unauthorised.

AAP