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EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Fraud! It's how David Tang lived the high life, claims his old boss Algy Cluff 

Described as a billionaire socialite, he counted Kate Moss, the Duchess of York and Tracey Emin among his pals, but Sir David Tang was a gambler and fraudster who died broke.

That's the shocking claim made by his former employer Algy Cluff, the oil tycoon and former owner of The Spectator magazine.

Cluff alleges the flamboyant Hong Kong businessman, who founded the China Tang restaurant at The Dorchester hotel and was said to be 'London's best-connected man', had been 'plundering the assets of various companies in order to fund his mythomaniacal life'.

Tang — who wrote a rich man's agony uncle column in the Financial Times, in which he resolved readers' social and financial problems — died in 2017 aged 63 after a battle with liver cancer.

Socialising: Kate Moss and Sir David Tang

Described as a billionaire socialite, he counted Kate Moss, the Duchess of York (pictured with Tang in 2013) and Tracey Emin among his pals, but Sir David Tang was a gambler and fraudster who died broke

Cluff claims: 'The pressure of sustaining this systematic fraud for 20 years must have been terrible and presumably hastened his death.' Writing in his latest memoir, Off The Cluff, published next week, he says: 'David was really an extraordinary man possessed of exceptional gifts but also of two fatal flaws.

'He was cultured (concert-standard pianist), entrepreneurial, creative, and great fun. His flaws were a disarming but ultimately destructive obsession to be not only a celebrity but also to be the peer of the grandest in the land.'

This desire to keep up with dukes and the super-rich was way beyond the resources of Tang, who lived in a house in Belgravia, London's most expensive enclave.

Cluff writes: 'It led to his second flaw, gambling, which merely compounded the problem, leaving him to adopt less acceptable tactics.'

An auction of Tang's property was held at Christie's in 2018, sanctioned by his widow, Lucy. The sale, which raised eyebrows at the time, included personal gifts from the Royal Family.

Tang's former employer Algy Cluff, the oil tycoon and former owner of The Spectator magazine, alleges the flamboyant Hong Kong businessman, who founded the China Tang restaurant at The Dorchester hotel and was said to be 'London's best-connected man', had been 'plundering the assets of various companies in order to fund his mythomaniacal life'

I caught 'bonkbuster' author Jilly Cooper deep in conversation with Coronation Street star Bill Roache at The Oldie of the Year Awards at The Savoy hotel yesterday. 'We're just trying to work out whether we slept together,' Cooper, 84, tells me. 'Once you get to our age, you forget.'

Roache, 89, interjected: 'But I'm sure I would have enjoyed it.' The old smoothie is said to have bedded more than 1,000 women, including Pat Phoenix, who played Elsie Tanner on the cobbles.

There's lots of kissing in Cressida's latest role

While running errands in West London, Cressida Bonas lovingly cradled her chocolate dachshund, Budgie Bear, which she acquired this summer with her estate agent husband, Harry Wentworth-Stanley

Prince Harry's ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas has been embracing her maternal side since the arrival of her new pup.

While running errands in West London, the dressed-down model and actress lovingly cradled her chocolate dachshund, Budgie Bear, which she acquired this summer with her estate agent husband, Harry Wentworth-Stanley. 'I'm preoccupied with how to keep her entertained,' admits Cressida, 32. 'I talk about her as if she were my child.

'She's a brown ball of love and cosiness, has the kindest of eyes, is brave as a lion, wants to hug and kiss all day long, is a little manipulative, thinks she's bigger than she is, has dinosaur paws — and we love her too much already.'

Known for its opulent interiors and long arias, the Royal Opera House is due to undergo a radical — and racy — makeover.

I can reveal Covent Garden is to be converted into a cabaret club for an evening of drag artist performances next month. The show will 'blend the classic and contemporary' and 'celebrate queer identity and culture', a spokesman explains.

The Royal Opera House's Linbury Foyer will be transformed into a cabaret-style bar for the occasion, and visitors, paying £10 a ticket, will be able to enjoy a nightclub featuring vogueing and go-go dancing in The Crush Room.

Still dancing after all these years, Eileen

Dame Eileen Atkins performed a tap dance on stage at the Duchess Theatre in London's West End this week

Could a spot on next year's Strictly beckon for Dame Eileen Atkins?

I ask only because the Cranford star performed a tap dance on stage at the Duchess Theatre in London's West End this week, before sitting down for a talk about her life with TV personality Gyles Brandreth.

'Dame Eileen has just become the oldest person to tap dance on a West End stage,' says former Tory MP Brandreth. 'We've checked and it's true.'

Dame Eileen, 87, was forced to dance from the age of three after her superstitious mother was visited by a gypsy who told her: 'You've got a dancer there.'

And within years, Eileen was regularly performing on stage at working men's clubs (below).

Dame Eileen, 87, was forced to dance from the age of three after her superstitious mother was visited by a gypsy who told her: 'You've got a dancer there.' And within years, Eileen was regularly performing on stage at working men's clubs

The Queen has shown tiresome Chris Packham that there's no need for her to 'rewild' the royal estates.

The BBC presenter recently led a protest to Buckingham Palace, asking the royals to improve their 'nature-depleted' land.

As if to prove him wrong, the Balmoral estate has launched a £300 'nature safari', where visitors can see birds of prey, red squirrels, red deer, red grouse, black grouse, snow bunting and salmon.

So will this stop Packham's whingeing? I doubt it.

Suki turns the mood up to sultry

I can reveal Suki Waterhouse has been signed up by U.S. record label Sub Pop, which launched rock legends Nirvana in the 1990s

She burst onto the scene modelling lingerie for Marks & Spencer, but now Suki Waterhouse has her sights set on musical stardom.

I can reveal she's been signed up by U.S. record label Sub Pop, which launched rock legends Nirvana in the 1990s.

'It really was a surprise,' admits Suki, 29. 'I made the album myself and sent it to Sub Pop and didn't get a response for months.'

Her debut album comes out next year and her first single from it, a 'sultry pop vibe' called Moves, was released last week.