Barclay Brothers Thwarted Rival for London Hotels, Lawyer Says

David and Frederick Barclay rode “roughshod” over an Irish developer’s legal right to buy shares as they gained control of three luxury London hotels, Patrick McKillen’s lawyer said in the U.K. Court of Appeal.

The brothers, billionaire owners of the Daily Telegraph, deliberately took steps to deprive McKillen of first refusal to buy shares from a former investor in Coroin Ltd., which owns Claridge’s, the Berkeley and the Connaught, his lawyer Peter Goldsmith said today.

“It is quite astonishing, I dare even to say grotesque that he was not given the opportunity to bid for the shares,” Goldsmith said. McKillen owns a 36 percent stake in Coroin.

The Barclays bought 800 million euros ($1.08 billion) of the hotel company’s debt from Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency in 2011 through a holding company called Maybourne Finance Ltd. giving them control of Coroin. McKillen’s original suit, accusing the brothers of acting illegally in their bid for Coroin, was thrown out by Judge David Richards in August 2012.

“The judge looked at this in a blinkered and unrealistic way,” said Goldsmith, the former U.K. Attorney General.

McKillen’s arguments “materially misstate the factual position and findings of the judge,” Kenneth MacLean, representing the Barclays’ businesses, said in written arguments.

The case is: McKillen v Misland (Cyprus) Investments Ltd. & Ors., U.K. Court of Appeal, Civil Division, case no. A3/2012/2515

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.