London: Court battle for three luxury hotels is over
Sunday, 12. August 2012, 15:37
British brothers David and Frederick Barclay have won a legal fight for control of Coroin, which owns three five-star hotels in London.
Irish property developer Paddy McKillen sued the Barclays
in March, kickstarting a five-month trial that roped in a raft of high-profile
names including former prime minister Tony Blair and billionaire Hong Kong
property tycoon Walter Kwok.
McKillen has a 36.2 percent stake in Coroin, which owns
The Berkeley, Claridges, and The Connaught, while the Barclays have a 28.4
percent holding through deals with shareholders.
McKillen said the brothers schemed illegally to bypass his
right to buy more Coroin shares from Derek Quinlan to seize control of the firm
and also that company directors appointed by the Barclays had breached their
Quinlan still owns his 35.4 percent share following the
court's decision. However, the Barclays have effective control over that stake
after buying Quinlan's debt last September.
A spokeswoman for McKillen said while he "might have
lost this battle he was actually in a better position to win the war. The
Barclay Brothers have not achieved their stated objective. We still have the
right to purchase Quinlan's interest in Maybourne at a later date should it
During the trial, the court heard that Blair gave free
advice to McKillen who was trying to buy a majority stake in Coroin and that
McKillen had approached Kwok, former chairman of Hong Kong-based developer Sun
Hung Kai Properties (0016.HK), as a potential investor.
Coroin was set up in 2004 by McKillen, Quinlan and others
using 660 million pounds Irish bank debt to buy the three hotels.
The loans were seized by Ireland's state-run National
Asset Management Agency during the country's property crash. Last September,
NAMA sold the loans to a Barclay brothers' firm, Maybourne Finance, for more
than 800 million euros.
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