McKillen wins right to appeal hotel ruling
PROPERTY DEVELOPER Patrick McKillen, who lost a High Court battle in September with billionaire brothers David and Frederick Barclay over control of three luxury London hotels, has won the right to appeal.
The decision by the Court of Appeal in London to accept the case – which was far from guaranteed – was made on October 26th, according to official court records, with a hearing date pencilled in for February to April next year.
However, legal sources close to the long-running and costly dispute between the Belfast-born developer and the Barclay brothers predicted that the hearing will take place earlier, possibly in December.
The exact nature of the grounds for appeal have not been published, but it is believed that Mr McKillen will question Mr Justice David Richards’s interpretation of the shareholders’ agreement signed by investors in Coroin Ltd.
Coroin, which was established by financier Derek Quinlan, was used as the vehicle to buy the Savoy, the Berkeley, the Connaught and Claridge’s hotels in 2004, though the Savoy was subsequently sold on.
In his ruling against Mr McKillen, the High Court judge found that the shareholders’ agreement had not been broken when Mr Quinlan transferred control, if not ownership, of his stake in the company to the Barclays.
Equally, Mr McKillen is expected to argue that pre-emption rights allowing existing shareholders to buy out others had been triggered because security held by a number of Mr Quinlan’s creditors had been triggered for non-payment of debts.
Responding to news that Mr McKillen has been given permission to appeal the judgment given in favour of the Barclays company, Misland(Cyprus) Investments Limited, his spokesman said: “We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has granted us leave to appeal this case.”
Last week, Mr McKillen paid millions in legal bills.
These included nearly €1 million to the National Asset Management Agency to comply with an order made by Mr Justice Richards in September – though the majority of the bill has yet to be assessed by a costs judge.
In his September ruling, the judge said that £2.5 million of the Barclay brothers’ bill should be paid up-front; £1.5 million of Mr Quinlan’s; £1 million of that of the Barclay directors; and £500,000 of that incurred by Nama, which was made party to the action by Mr McKillen.
In total, the bill for the case so far – which saw teams of lawyers involved in pre-trial hearings from last November, before nearly 30 days of battle in open court, is expected to top the £20 million mark. This would make it one of the most significant legal actions in London this year.