A property developer from Northern Ireland could face a bill of £20m after he lost a court battle against one of the UK's best-known business families.
The Barclay family said Belfast-born property developer Patrick McKillen's latest court challenge – over who controls a £1bn company that owns three of London's most famous hotels – had been "unanimously rejected".
Dublin-based Mr McKillen lost the first round of his battle with Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay in the High Court last year. The Court of Appeal refused to overturn that decision yesterday.
Judges heard that Mr McKillen and the Barclay brothers were investors in Coroin, which owns and manages Claridge's, the Connaught and the Berkeley hotels.
Mr McKillen claimed company affairs were conducted in a "manner unfairly prejudicial to his interests". The Barclays disputed the claims.
"This is a total and complete defeat for Mr McKillen," said a spokesman for Barclay companies.
Mr McKillen vowed to "continue to fight".
A London High Court judge ruled against Mr McKillen in August 2012.
Mr Justice David Richards also said Mr McKillen should pay all sides' legal costs. At a hearing in London in February, Mr McKillen asked the Court of Appeal to overturn parts of the High Court ruling.
Appeal judges Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Lord Justice Rimer ruled against Mr McKillen yesterday.
They said Mr McKillen should pay almost all the costs of the Barclay brothers – as well as his own.
The Barclay spokesman estimated that Mr McKillen could be facing a bill in the region of £20m.
He added: "There is nothing for him to salvage from these rulings. After nearly two years of legal proceedings, Mr McKillen is considerably worse off financially but no further forward."
Mr McKillen said after the ruling: "This case has always been about whether the original shareholders should have first refusal if one of them wanted out or became insolvent. That is what the shareholders' agreement at the heart of this case is all about. The Court of Appeal has confirmed this right."
He added: "I will continue to fight the Barclay brothers by any legal means to protect our staff, guests and our rights."
"The Court of Appeal has unanimously dismissed Patrick McKillen's appeal from the judgment of Mr Justice David Richards in the case of Coroin Limited. The Court of Appeal judgment hands a resounding victory to the Barclay family interests, who, it is again confirmed, have acted entirely lawfully and properly in relation to Maybourne and in the face of repeated litigation by Mr McKillen."
A Barclay family spokesman