Saturday 18 January 2020

NAMA and McKillen prepare to slug it out in London

Laura Noonan

OFFICIALS from the National Asset Management Agency have sworn affidavits detailing how NAMA sold £660m (€790m) of Maybourne Hotel Group loans to the Barclay brothers.

The Irish Independent has learned that the affidavits from NAMA's head of portfolio management, John Mulcahy, and portfolio manager Paul Hennigan have been prepared ahead of a forthcoming legal showdown in London.

The Maybourne deal is due back in court on March 19, as Irish investor Paddy McKillen -- who owns Dublin's Jervis Centre -- continues his battle against the way the hotel group loans were sold to the Barclays without his consent.

A spokesman for NAMA last night confirmed that Mr Mulcahy and Mr Hennigan would attend court on March 19, but declined to give further details.

Mr McKillen, who owns 36pc of the hotel group, is trying to get the London courts to overturn the debt sale to the Barclays and allow him to buy out the remainder of the hotel chain.

He will submit extensive detail about his personal finances to the court to prove that he has the firepower to buy the remainder of the group.

The court has promised that all details of his finances will remain confidential.

Maybourne

The finances of former tax inspector Derek Quinlan are also expected to be explored in some detail as part of the case. He was a 35pc investor in the Maybourne Group and has supported the Barclays' bid to take control of it.

At the weekend, it emerged that Mr Quinlan's living expenses are now being paid by the Barclays. Sources have stressed that this is a personal arrangement, which is unrelated to the battle for the Maybourne.

The London clash marks the second time that Mr McKillen has squared up against NAMA in court. Last year he successfully managed to rebuff the agency's attempt to takeover €1.4bn of his borrowings by arguing that his loans were not impaired and therefore should not be transferred to NAMA.

In the London case, he will argue that he had a pre-emption right that gave him first refusal on the sale of the five-hotel chain, which includes the upmarket Claridge's property in Mayfair.

Mr McKillen will also claim that the Barclays shouldn't have been allowed to buy the debt because they are not a financial institution.

NAMA is expected to vigorously defend the way it handled the deal.

Irish Independent

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