Property investor Paddy McKillen says his father advised him to “stay out of the press and out of the courts” but, after 30 years in business, he is now involved with both.
The Belfast business man, who has been associated with designer John Rocha, U2’s Bono and billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien, is fighting legal battles on both sides of the Irish Sea.
In England, he is awaiting the imminent decision of the Court of Appeal on his bid to prevent billionaire brothers Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay taking control of the £1 billion Maybourne group of London hotels: Claridge's, The Connaught and the Berkeley. If he wins, he intends to buy his allocation of Derek Quinlan's shares, which would give Mr McKillen majority ownership. If he loses, he remains a 37 per cent shareholder on a hostile board but, according to sources, is determined to sit tight.
Here, he has just initiated a High Court action against Nama, alleging it provided confidential information about his loans to a representative of the Barclays in breach of the Nama Act and his right to privacy. A spokesman for Nama said yesterday it would “vigorously defend” the claims.
He has lodged separate defamation proceedings in the High Court against Powerscourt, a communications company acting for the Barclays, and an executive working for the Barclays.
Last month, in another action, he and Denis O'Brien obtained an injunction restraining publication by the Sunday Times of material in confidential documents from IBRC. The full case will come before the court in the next few weeks.
Having obtained some information from the Department of Finance via a Freedom of Information request, Mr McKillen says he is greatly concerned this illustrates “inappropriate contact” between senior Department officials and Barclay representatives relating to his IBRC loans.
His lawyers have appealed to the Information Commissioner against the Department’s refusal to release certain other documents and have also written a strong letter to the Minister for Finance about the issue.
He is also taking advice about further legal action “to protect his business”.