It’s going to be a busy year in the courts for property developer and businessman, Paddy McKillen with news today that he is to initiate libel proceedings in Dublin’s High Court this coming week arising from the long-running battle with the billionaire Barclay brothers over the control of the Maybourne hotel group of three luxury hotels in central London; separately, Paddy’s appeal against last August 2012’s judgment by London’s High Court is set to begin in February 2013. And apparently it is still open to Paddy to initiate proceedings in Dublin about NAMA’s sale of loans to the Barclays, since UK appeal judges have rejected Paddy’s application to hold an appeal, in part, because the matter at issue is really a matter for a foreign, that is, “Irish”, jurisdiction.
Paul Tweed, the star solicitor at Belfast, London and Dublin-firm, Johnsons is said to be representing Paddy – coincidentally Paul is also representing Sean Gallagher, who on Friday last, initiated proceedings in Dublin’s High Court against RTE over the infamous Tweetgate incident where a bogus tweet was used by RTE in an Irish presidential debate. And Paul was recently representing the X Factor’s Louis Walsh who won a €500,000 pay-out from the Irish Sun.
So, what is Paddy upset about this time? Apparently a statement was made by a British PR company, Powerscourt on 30th November 2012 on behalf of the Barclays, which contained something which Paddy regards as, according to the Sunday Independent, “defamatory of him as they questioned his motivation for bringing proceedings before the UK Court of Appeal” in the latter half of 2012. You might recall that following Paddy’s comprehensive defeat in the London High Court last August 2012, he was firstly hit with legal costs which have been estimated at €25m of which he has paid several million already and then he sought, and was granted, permission to appeal the High Court judgment, the appeal was to have been heard before Christmas but, to accommodate the Barclay brothers, has been deferred and the hearing is now scheduled to commence in February 2013.
A brief perusal of Powercourt’s website this morning shows that it acts for a slew of Irish companies including Aer Lingus, Greencore, Paddy Power and…. – well, it’s not on the Powerscourt client list but there is a comment from it on the Powerscourt website above – Avestus Capital, the name of the company formerly known as Quinlan Private, Derek Quinlan’s company. We learnt last year that Derek – or “Derrick” as the Barclays call him – is bessie mates with the Barclays who have advanced him over GBP 4m for his personal expenditure; he is the former tax inspector who was for many years a King Midas of property but is now one of the NAMA Top 10 developers and one with severely distressed loans, and against whom, the Agency has foreclosed on certain loans.
Paddy is also upset with the company to which NAMA sold €800m of loans relating to the Maybourne hotels. That company, Maybourne Finance Limited was set up by the Barclays to acquire the loans and one of its directors, Philip Peters was cited in the offending Powerscourt statement in November. The Sunday Independent reports that Philip has given an undertaking not to repeat the offending statement but that undertaking is “without prejudice”, presumably to its accuracy about which, there is dispute.
The actual offending statement from Powerscourt doesn’t appear to be available this morning, but in the London High Court last year, the Barclays’ legal team were quite beastly towards the scrappy Paddy, suggesting he hadn’t a pot to pee in.
Powerscourt is not apparently making any statement, and Maybourne Finance declined to comment on the matter to the Sunday Independent. A request for comment was made from here to Paddy’s spokeswoman but I would say there is unlikely to be any comment forthcoming from that quarter on this matter, either.
UPDATE: 26th January, 2013. Paddy McKillen yesterday lodged an application in Dublin’s High Court – reference 2013/799P – where the respondents are named as Philip Peters and Maybourne Finance Limited. Paddy is represented by Belfast solicitors Johnsons where Paul Tweed is the star earner. As this is Dublin and Ireland, we neither know the details of the application nor the remedy sought but the betting is that it will be in connection with the above story.