PROPERTY developer Paddy McKillen today told a London High Court judge that the objective of two of Britain's best-known businessmen was to "oust" him from Coroin, the company that owns top London hotels Claridge's, the Connaught and the Berkeley.
He added that the Barclay brothers, who own the Daily Telegraph newspaper group, had "infringed and diminished" his rights as a director in the company which was co-founded by financier Derek Quinlan.
Mr McKillen, who comes from Belfast and is based in Dublin, said twins Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay had "engaged in a scheme" to take control of Coroin.
Mr McKillen was giving evidence on the second day of a High Court trial in London after taking legal action and claiming that he had been a victim of "unlawfulness" and "unfairly prejudicial conduct".
The Barclay brothers, who grew up in London, deny Mr McKillen's allegations and say he is trying to tarnish their reputations and embarrass them.
Mr McKillen told judge Mr Justice David Richards in a written witness statement: "Since at least January 2011, the Barclay brothers and their interests have been engaged in a scheme to take over the company and in doing so I believe they have infringed and diminished my rights as a shareholder and director."
In the witness box today, Mr McKillen also described the difficulties he faced in 2010 in getting fresh investors for Caroin after NAMA had taken over the company's loans from Irish banks.
The Barclay brothers subsequently bought €800m of the hotel group's debt held by NAMA.
Mr McKillen, who owned 36pc of the company, claims he was denied a chance to take over the hotel group because of a conspiracy between the Barclay brothers and Mr Quinlan.