McKillen contention 'totally unrealistic'


Property developer Paddy McKillen's declaration that he could have raised the money necessary to buy financier Derek Quinlan's shares in a luxury London hotel group is "totally unrealistic", the Court of Appeal in London has heard.

The charge was made during the second day of the latest round in the battle between Mr McKillen and the billionaire Barclay brothers, David and Frederick, for control of three luxury hotels, the Berkeley, the Connaught and Claridges, owned by the holding company Coroin.

On Monday, one of Mr McKillen's legal team, Stephen Marshall, said the Belfast-born businessmen had assets worth more than £1 billion, along with rent-rolls of £150 million from those properties - enough nearly to cover his debt repayments twice.

Rejecting this, Kenneth MacLean QC, representing three of the companies owned by the Barclay brothers, said Mr Justice David Richards had clearly found in the High Court that he could not have done so, and he failed to produce a single lender willing to give evidence.

In a skeletal argument presented to the three appeal judges, Mr MacLean said one hedge fund, Och-Ziff, had made an outline offer to provide the £48 million that Mr McKillen would have needed to buy enough of Mr Quinlan's shares to win majority control of the group.

However, the terms were "extremely expensive", said Mr MacLean. "It is totally unrealistic for Mr McKillen to contend that he would have entered into an extremely expensive funding agreement with Och-Ziff which, on the evidence before the court, he had no means of refinancing or ever repaying," Mr MacLean's argument went.

Mr McKillen had received a judgment from Mr Justice Richards that was "above reproach and unimpeachable", where the judge had given "a clear and comprehensive dismissal" of the claims, Mr MacLean said.

Argument rejected

He rejected the argument that Mr McKillen had been improperly deprived of the opportunity to buy some of Mr Quinlan's shares because of a deal struck between Mr Quinlan and the Barclays in January 2011.

The Court of Appeal has already found against Mr McKillen, he said. Mr McKillen wanted to argue that he had been unfairly treated because he had ended up in a position where he was not in majority control of the company, but he could not so do because the Barclays had not acted improperly to get to the position they held, he said.