Sunday 18 March 2018

Developer McKillen owes €370m to two banks, court told

Shane Hickey in London

DEVELOPER Paddy McKillen owes up to €370m to two banks, a court was told.

The High Court in London yesterday heard details of the Belfast developer's extensive property portfolio, which extends to sites in the US, France, Dubai, England, Germany, Vietnam, as well as stud farms in Argentina and Kazakhstan.

Mr McKillen, who is involved in a lengthy court battle with the billionaire Barclay brothers, told the court that he owes between €360m and €370m to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) -- formerly Anglo Irish -- and Bank of Scotland.

He also owes in excess of €10m to Bank of Ireland and "maybe" Ulster Bank as well as a shared loan with AIB, Mr McKillen told the court.

His evidence on his personal financial affairs came during his second period in the witness box in his action over the ownership of Coroin, which runs three landmark London hotels -- Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley.

Mr McKillen is suing David and Frederick Barclay over their attempts to take over Coroin. He owns 36pc of the £1bn (€1.2bn) company; the Barclays have 64pc, having acquired the debt secured on financier Derek 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 shareholders' agreement of the company.

The court heard the total amount owed by Mr McKillen and companies he is associated with is €1.6bn.

Details of his financial affairs emerged after Judge David Richards refused an application by Mr McKillen that discussions about his personal monies should remain behind closed doors.

Under questioning by Kenneth Maclean, counsel for the Barclay companies, Mr McKillen said it was "nonsense" that he was trying to keep his portfolio of properties -- which includes 10 sites in Vietnam -- from the Irish taxpayer.

The sale of three separate assets, which was completed at the start of this year, generated £40m (€50m) in "free cash" and IBRC are "probably" aware of this, he said.

When asked why he did not tell the bank, Mr McKillen said: "And give them all our cash? No, that is not the way how business works."


The money is now available to be reinvested in the south of France or Argentina, the court heard.

He said he was one of IBRC's biggest clients and maintained an excellent relationship with the bank, meeting chief executive Mike Aynsley on a weekly basis at one stage.

Mr Aynsley sent Mr McKillen a text at the end of January last year saying the bank had decided to work with him "consensually" with him rather than deal with the Barclays.

Mr Aynsley subsequently sent a text asking to keep this information private as he could not have board positions leaking out.

At one stage, the Barclay Brothers tried to buy Mr McKillen's personal debt from IBRC but this was not sold on by the bank.

Yesterday, Mr McKillen said the brothers had tried to "put my wife and children out of a home" and they had "no mercy".

The Barclays have denied any allegations of unlawful behaviour in connection with the court action.

The hearing is due to continue today with further evidence from Mr McKillen.

Irish Independent

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