Monday 20 January 2020

Quinlan 'completely under control of Barclays', court hears

Shane Hickey in London

FINANCIER Derek Quinlan was "completely under the control" of the billionaire Barclay brothers when they were trying to take over three high-end London hotels in which he held a stake, a court heard yesterday.

The right-hand man of developer Paddy McKillen claimed Mr Quinlan operated with another of the directors of the hotel group Coroin to advance the wishes of the brothers.

Mr McKillen is suing David and Frederick Barclay over their attempts to take control of the company, which owns the five-star Claridges, Connaught and Berkeley hotels.

The Belfast-born businessman owns 36pc of the Stg£1bn (€1.2bn) firm. The Barclays have 64pc, having acquired the debt secured on Mr Quinlan's shareholding from NAMA to add to their existing shareholding last year.

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.

He wants the court to rule that he has the right to buy the remaining shares in Maybourne Finance Ltd, the holding company the Barclay brothers used to buy them from NAMA.

In a witness statement yesterday, Liam Cunningham -- Mr McKillen's main advisor -- said that last year Richard Faber, a Barclay-appointed nominee to the board of the company, actively pursued the brothers' interests and was followed by Mr Quinlan.

Mr McKillen has claimed Mr Quinlan reneged on a deal to sell part of the company to a Qatari-based investment vehicle.

Arrangements

He also says there had been "undisclosed arrangements" between the brothers and Mr Quinlan and that "very substantial sums" had been paid by the Barclays for the benefit of Mr Quinlan and his family.

Yesterday, Mr Cunningham said Mr Faber acted to put the interests of the Barclays "above all else".

"Mr Faber often appeared quite careful as to what he said and I assume that this was so that he would not say or do anything that might be adverse to the Barclay brothers' interests," said the statement.

"It therefore appeared to me that Mr Faber acted either under their instruction or in keeping with the manner in which they would have instructed him to act.

"As I have already commented, whilst he remained a director, Mr Quinlan and his alternate Mr [Gerry] Murphy simply did what Mr Faber did. They appeared to me to be completely under the control of the Barclays."

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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