McKillen receives apology in High Court over article
BUSINESSMAN Paddy McKillen received an apology in the High Court from 'The Spectator' magazine over an article it published related to Claridge's Hotel in London.
The article which ran last March incorrectly suggested Belfast-born Mr McKillen was a "front man" for Qatari investors in the luxury hotel, the court heard yesterday.
After the hearing, Mr McKillen said that 'The Spectator' "published totally incorrect facts about me, which I believe was a blatant attempt to undermine my reputation".
Mr McKillen's solicitor, Paul Tweed, said the businessman, who was not in attendance, had been "totally vindicated by this comprehensive and categoric retraction and apology".
Jim O'Callaghan SC, for Mr McKillen, said the matter arose out of a defamation action over the article but he was pleased to tell the court it had been settled and solicitor for the magazine, Simon McAleese, would read out an apology.
The apology stated that on March 29 last, in the print and online editions, The Spectator (1828) Ltd, publishers of the magazine, ran an article in the "Taki" column entitled: "It might be time to avoid Claridges."
The article referred to an "Irish front man" for the Qataris which could have been taken as a reference to Mr McKillen.
"The defendant's column had incorrectly assumed Mr McKillen's investment in Claridges was being financed by Qatari funding.
"It accepts this was incorrect and that it was therefore wrong to describe Mr McKillen as a front man for the Qataris."
The magazine withdrew any corresponding criticism of Mr McKillen and was apologising "to him for its error", it added.
President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, agreed to strike out the matter with no further order.