Savage Garden's Hayes denies racial abuse


LONDON -- Former Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes has issued a statement in which he "strenuously denies" allegations made against him after he was arrested on suspicion of racial abuse.

The Australian singer turned himself in to police following an incident July 22 at a restaurant in the Soho area of London.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said, "A 35-year-old man was arrested by Westminster (Borough) Police on suspicion of racially abusing a member of staff at a Thai restaurant in Wardour Street.

"He was arrested after voluntarily attending a central London police station by appointment. He has been released on bail pending further inquiries until a date in September."

On his official Web site, a statement from Hayes' solicitor reads: "Darren is unable to comment to any extent as the incident is presently under investigation by the police, with whom he has cooperated fully.

"However he is deeply upset at the allegation which he strenuously denies and anyone who knows Darren will recognise that the particular nature of the allegation is totally abhorrent to him and contrary to everything for which he has stood."

After selling an estimated 20 million albums worldwide, the Australian duo Savage Garden split in October 2001, allowing Hayes to concentrate on his solo career. In 2002, his debut set "Spin" (Columbia) reached No. 2 on the U.K. album chart and peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard 200.

Hayes released his third solo album "This Delicate Thing We've Made" on Monday in the U.K. on his own Powdered Sugar label. The single "On the Verge of Something Wonderful" bowed at No. 20 on the U.K. chart this month.