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Four of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's in-laws — including his father-in-law, whom he fired from his company seven years ago — are in a real pickle over charges of computer hacking.
Chris Hutcheson, 68 — the father of Ramsay's wife, Tana — and three of Hutcheson's other adult children are scheduled to appear in court March 14 on charges of conspiracy to access computer data without authorization, London's Metropolitan Police Service said Tuesday.
Tana Ramsay, a cookbook author and children's TV host who has been married to Ramsay for 20 years, is famously estranged from her father, and she is not named in connection with the case.
It's just the latest dish in the sizzling banquet of a family feud for Gordon Ramsay, a three-starred Michelin chef well known as the short-tempered host of reality TV cooking shows like "Hell's Kitchen, "MasterChef" and "Kitchen Nightmares."
The controversy first became public in October 2010, when Ramsay fired Hutcheson as chief executive of his holding company.
In response to a 2011 legal complaint in which Hutcheson accused Ramsay of unfair dismissal, Ramsay alleged in public documents that Hutcheson had hacked into his email and had siphoned 1.4 million pounds from Gordon Ramsay Holdings. That's about US$1.75 million on Wednesday's currency exchanges.
Ramsay and Hutcheson reached an undisclosed out-of-court settlement — but not before Ramsay publicly accused Hutcheson of having stolen the money to pay for a secret second family. Hutcheson denied the allegations.
That appeared to resolve the hacking allegations — until Tuesday, when police disclosed that Hutcheson; his sons, Adam Hutcheson, 46, and Chris Hutcheson, 37; and his daughter Orlanda Butland, 45, had been charged with violating the Criminal Law Act of 1977.
The alleged conspiracy was active from Oct. 23, 2010 — about the time Ramsay fired Hutcheson — through March 3, 2011, police said. The Met said Hutcheson and his three other children "conspired together to cause a computer to access programs and data held in any computer without authority."
Police would give no other details beyond saying that the case grew out of the 2011 investigation into alleged computer hacking of celebrities and other prominent personalities by British tabloid newspapers. They didn't say how the investigations were linked.