PROPERTY investor Paddy McKillen is being "coy" as to whether he has bid for some of his own loans which he is seeking to prevent being sold to the billionaire Barclay brothers, the High Court was told earlier today.
Michael Howard SC, for the Barclays, made the comment when urging Mr Justice Paul Gilligan to fix the earliest possible hearing of pre-trial applications in Mr McKillen's action aimed at preventing Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) selling €246m of his loans to the Barclays.
A number of pre-trial applications were mentioned before the judge yesterday, including applications concerning discovery of documents.
Michael Cush SC, for Mr McKillen, said his understanding was the matters were not to be actually heard yesterday but, in any event, he wanted a short adjournment on grounds including his side wanted to respond to an affidavit they had just received from the Barclays.
Mr Cush also indicated his side wanted documents from non-parties in the case, including from the National Assets Management Agency.
Mr Howard said he opposed any adjournment but, having been told there was no judge available yesterday to hear the applications, counsel asked for the shortest adjournment possible. A final decision on the bidding process was expected to be made in March, the time line for the litigation was already tight and his side wanted no slippage, counsel said.
Mr McKillen was being "coy" whether he had bid for the loans himself, had given no undertaking for damages in this litigation and the Barclays were the people who would be disadvantaged if there was any slippage, counsel added.
Mr Justice Gilligan said he understood the urgency and would hear the pre-trial matters next Wednesday. He added that those non-parties from whom documents are sought should be informed the matter was urgent and the requests for documents shoud be speedily addressed.
A final decision on the winning bid for Mr McKillen's loans is expected to be made next March but, if the Barclays are the selected bidder, Mr McKillen's challenge will be heard before any sale is finally effected.
If Mr McKillen wins his case, the liquidators have said they will abide by the court's decision. Subject to the Barclays winning the bid, the case will open on March 4.
The Irish proceedings come after Mr McKillen last November lost the final stage of his Stg£20m UK court battle against the Barclays for control of three luxury hotels in London - Claridge's, the Connaught and the Berkeley.
Mr McKillen's concern is to ensure whoever buys the loans does so on the basis of renegotiated terms and conditions related to those loans.
He contends the personal loans tranche cannot be treated as anything other than loans of a fixed three year period from December 2012.