Sunday 22 October 2017

Barclays 'did not provide material information to the court'

Shane Hickey in London

THE Barclay brothers' failure to attend court and furnish "material" information relating to the takeover of three high-profile London hotels should count against them when judgment is handed down in the case, Irish investor Paddy McKillen has told the London courts.

The Belfast-born developer has said the High Court in London could draw "adverse inferences" from the fact that neither David nor Frederick Barclay, nor David's son Aidan, has taken to the witness box in the landmark trial over Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley.

Meanwhile, former tax inspector Derek Quinlan, who was one of Mr McKillen's original co-investors in the hotels, has claimed comments made by Mr McKillen about him during the course of the case were an "unwarranted attack upon the integrity of an honest man".

The case surrounding attempts by the brothers to take over Coroin, the company which runs the hotels, yesterday entered its final stages with closing arguments from both the Barclays and Mr McKillen being lodged with the court.

In his 394-page submission, Mr McKillen said the three Barclays had important evidence which could have been given to the court.

"Each of Frederick Barclay, David Barclay and Aidan Barclay has material knowledge of critical matters in issue to which they have chosen not to testify," said the closing statement from Mr McKillen's side.

"The court is entitled to draw adverse inferences in respect of their failure to give evidence."

Mr McKillen owns 36pc of the £1bn (€1.2bn) company while the Barclays have 64pc, having acquired the debt secured on financier Derek Quinlan's shareholding from NAMA to add to their existing shareholding last year.

David Barclay has "material knowledge" relating to most of the issues but has declined to give evidence on health grounds, said Mr McKillen's side. They claim this is because evidence given by him would act against him.

'Inference'

While Frederick Barclay gave a witness statement, he said he would not attend court even if there was an order made for him to do so. "Adverse inferences can and should be drawn from Frederick's refusal to give evidence," said the statement.

Aidan Barclay, chairman of the 'Telegraph' group and a key figure in the case, also did not give evidence, Mr McKillen's side said, but he had given evidence recently to the ongoing Leveson Inquiry into press standards. They claim his evidence would have been unhelpful to his father and uncle's case.

Mr McKillen is claiming Mr Quinlan's 35pc stake should have been offered to him under a clause in the shareholders' agreement of the company.

The court has heard that Mr Quinlan received a number of payments from the Barclays, said to be help for a friend in a time of need. The financier denied this had anything to do with the sale of his Coroin share to the 'Telegraph' owners.

"Mr Quinlan was an evasive witness, who gave evidence which was consistently unreliable, incredible and untruthful," the closing argument said.

Mr Quinlan said comments by Mr McKillen were an "unwarranted attack upon the integrity of an honest man" and that he had been subject to a hostile and unpleasant cross-examination.

"Mr McKillen is in no position to criticise anybody's lifestyle, as he leads a plutocratic lifestyle at the sufferance of IBRC, effectively the Irish taxpayer," the closing statement from Mr Quinlan said.

Mr Quinlan said parts of the case against the Barclays were imbued with a "sense of delusion", that Mr McKillen used "self-regarding exaggeration" in his evidence and was "not a truthful witness".

Irish Independent

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