Friday, 27 April 2012

U2′s Bono sat in at yacht meeting on Savoy sale

U2 SINGER Bono was brought to a meeting on a yacht in the south of France by Patrick McKillen and Derek Quinlan that settled the sale of the London’s luxury Savoy Hotel, it emerged yesterday.

The revelation by Mr Quinlan came during a London high court case in which Mr McKillen alleges he was improperly barred from taking control of three other London hotels.

Separately, the court found against Mr McKillen’s application that some of his financial affairs should not be disclosed and that some of the case should be heard in private.

Mr Quinlan told the court a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Al-Waleed, had agreed in 2004 to pay £230 million (€281 million) for the Savoy, one of four hotels bought by a Quinlan-led group of investors.

By August of that year, however, there was “still a dispute” about the deposit to be paid, so Mr Quinlan said he was invited to the yacht to “finalise the deal”.

“I asked Mr McKillen if he wanted to come; he agreed and I suggested that Mr McKillen’s very close friend of 20 years, the singer Bono from the band U2, should join us.”

The singer, who is part-owner of a yacht along with Mr McKillen and U2 guitarist The Edge, happened to be in the south of France at the time.

“I recall that I sat beside Prince A1-Waleed and Bono sat next to me. Mr McKillen, on the other hand, sat at the other end of the yacht and made no contribution to the discussion,” said Mr Quinlan.

Meanwhile, Mr Justice David Richards rejected Mr McKillen’s application that some of the defendants, including the billionaire Barclay brothers, should be denied sight of details of his financial affairs.

Dismissing it, the judge said the application came “nowhere near” the standards necessary to justify it, adding he could not name a single example where a similar order had been made.

Unusually, he ordered Mr McKillen to pay a sum on account to cover the defendants’ costs, while, even more unusually, he also awarded costs to media organisations that had challenged the application, including The Irish Times.


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