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Tensions rise between McKillen and Quinlan over name of firm

GIVEN his ongoing support for the billionaire Barclay brothers in their battle to gain control of the prestigious Claridge's, Berkeley and Connaught hotels, it's probably fair to say that Derek Quinlan isn't exactly flavour of the month with Belfast-born property tycoon Paddy McKillen – a man with his own ambitions to own the famous London landmarks.

But relations between the two Irishmen took yet another turn for the worse recently thanks to an unfortunate choice of company name made by Mr Quinlan's close friend and business associate, Gerry Murphy.

Both Mr McKillen and his wife, the well-known former model Maura, are understood to have been incensed after hearing that Mr Murphy had given the name of Kalli Capita to his newly established business.

Based in London's Berkeley Square, Kalli Capital has retained Mr Quinlan as a consultant and is rumoured to be in talks already with a number of Middle Eastern investors.

Mr Murphy told the Sunday Independent last month that the company had been inspired by a native of California with whom he and Mr Quinlan had been in discussions prior to its formation.

The McKillens, for their part, are said to have been convinced that the company had in fact been named after their youngest daughter, Kali, in a deliberate attempt to upset them.

Contacted yesterday and asked to explain the situation, Mr Murphy said: "The company was established in October 2010 before the case [in London] started. It was called after the state of California. I was with a Californian lawyer at the time and looking for a simple catch name. She suggested the name.

"I had no idea that Paddy McKillen's daughter was called Kali.

"When Mr McKillen approached me about it in Dublin Airport, I explained it was an unfortunate coincidence. I decided to change the name as it was not hugely important to me what the business was called. I then decided to call it after the English village Pembridge."

Clearly anxious to defuse the still-simmering row, Mr Murphy forwarded a copy of a text message he had sent to Mr McKillen and his co-director Liam Cunningham, in which he apologised for any offence that had been caused by what he described as an "unfortunate coincidence".

The text read: "Paddy (copy Liam), Gerry here. I am changing the name of the company today and will destroy the stationery. I had no idea your daughter's name was Kali when I registered Kalli Capital on 20 November, 2010, which was well before the legal proceedings started.

"I assure you that this was an unfortunate coincidence and no deliberate personal offence was ever intended. Regards to you all, most especially young Kali. Gerry."

Mr Murphy also forwarded a copy of Mr McKillen's response in which the Belfast businessman acknowledged and appeared to accept his explanation, saying: "Gerry, greatly appreciated. Thanks Paddy."

Irish Independent