The substantial legal fees financier Derek Quinlan is incurring during a court case surrounding the ownership of three London hotels are being paid by the billionaire Barclay brothers, it has emerged.
A key lieutenant of Frederick and David Barclay, the owners of the Ritz Hotel, yesterday agreed that some £3m had been passed from the brothers to Mr Quinlan over the space of a year in what is said to have been friends helping each other out.
Belfast-born developer Paddy McKillen has claimed there were "undisclosed arrangements" between the Barclays and Mr Quinlan over his share of Coroin, which runs the five-star Claridges, Connaught and Berkeley hotels.
Mr McKillen is suing the Barclays over their attempts to take over the company. The Barclays own 64%, having acquired the debt secured on Mr Quinlan's shareholding from Nama.
Mr McKillen - who owns 36% - is claiming Mr Quinlan's stake should have been offered to him and wants a court ruling that he has the right to buy the remaining shares.
Last week, Richard Faber, a former director of Coroin appointed by the Barclays, agreed the legal fees for Mr Quinlan in the case were being paid by the brothers.
The Barclay camp has claimed monies given to Mr Quinlan before and after he started discussing selling his Coroin share to them last year were a support for a friend at a time of need.
These sums needed to be kept in context, said Mr Faber, since Mr Quinlan had effectively gifted a Chelsea property to the Barclays for use as a school.