Monday 25 September 2017

Liquidator rejects property investor Paddy McKillen's offer to pay off €133m debt

THE liquidator of the former Anglo Irish Bank has rejected a cash offer by property investor Paddy McKillen to pay off the €133m debt associated with the Jervis Shopping Centre in Dublin.

The cash offer, backed by a UK lender, involved a restructuring of the security underpinning the remaining debts owed by the businessman.

Mr McKillen, who is involved in a contentious legal dispute for control of three luxury London hotels, personally owes the IBRC (formerly Anglo) about €250m. But the Belfast-born developer is under pressure to cut a broader deal for his full portfolio of debts.

Neither side would comment on the cash bid, which represented an offer to fully repay the Jervis debt. But the Irish Independent has learnt that the refusal was key to a decision by Mr McKillen to sue the IBRC's special liquidators in the High Court in Dublin.

Yesterday, High Court judge Mr Justice Michael White granted Mr McKillen permission to sue IBRC as part of his marathon legal dispute over control of three luxury hotels in London.

Mr McKillen has been involved in lengthy litigation with the billionaire brothers David and Frederick Barclay, with an address in Monte Carlo, Monaco, over ownership of Claridge's, the Connaught and the Berkeley hotels.

He has now brought proceedings against IBRC and its special liquidators KPMG's Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson, the Barclay brothers and companies in their control over the selling on to the Barclay brothers of personal loans he had held with the former Anglo.

A spokesperson for Mr McKillen said that all of Mr McKillen's loans were fully performing.

"We are repaying every cent with no discount sought," said the spokesperson.

"The Barclays are publicly stating that they are attempting to buy our fully performing debt from IBRC as part of their hostile takeover attempt. We are taking this action to prevent that from happening." Under legislation enacted following the decision to wind up IBRC, anyone wishing to sue the former Anglo Irish Bank must first secure permission from the High Court.

Breach Barrister Frank Beatty, for Mr McKillen, said the action was one for an alleged breach of contract over a decision to sell Mr McKillen's personal loans with IBRC to the Barclay brothers.

It was Mr McKillen's case that by buying his loans from IBRC, the Barclay brothers were attempting to gain his shares in Maybourne Hotels Ltd – the company that controls the three hotels in question.

Counsel said other shareholders in Maybourne were firms who Mr McKillen claims are controlled for the benefit of the Barclay brothers.

There was an agreement among the shareholders of Maybourne that one shareholder would not do anything at the expense of the other, it is claimed.

By attempting to acquire his loans from the former Anglo Irish Bank, the defendants had acted in breach of contract, counsel added. Ireland was the appropriate jurisdiction where the case should be heard.

The judge granted Mr McKillen permission to serve notice of his proceedings on the defendants who are outside of the jurisdiction, including the Barclay brothers.

By Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

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