Berkeley hotels

Man files complaint against British hoteliers and Qatari royalty

An Irish businessman has sued the owners of some of London’s top luxury hotels as well as two senior members of the Qatari royal family for damages over the content of letters he says undermined to his reputation.

Ronnie Delany’s action, which relates to letters allegedly published to individuals in Ireland, including businessman Paddy McKillen, and elsewhere on April 13, is against Maybourne Hotels Ltd, which owns and operates The Berkeley hotels , Claridge’s and The Connaught in London , and the Group’s Managing Director, Mr Marc Socker.

The action is also directed against His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former Emir of the Gulf State of Qatar, and His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabber Al Thani, a Qatari businessman and politician. They jointly hold the economic interest of the hotel group, it is claimed.

Mr Delany, of Chatham Street, Dublin 2, claims that letters published by the hotel group and Mr Socker, in their capacity as attendants and agents of the Qatari defendants, contained material defaming him.

He further alleges that the publication of the letters was part of a conspiracy against him.

Accordingly, he sued all four parties for damages, including exemplary and punitive damages for alleged defamation, conspiracy against him, and loss inflicted on him by unlawful means.

Mr Delany claims that, as the letters were published to persons located in Ireland, he is entitled to bring an action for defamation in that court.

In his action, he seeks statements from the court that the content of the letters contained statements defaming him and damaging his reputation.

He is also asking for statements to the effect that the letters are part of a conspiracy by the defendants to damage his reputation.

He further seeks an injunction preventing the defendants from republishing the letters.

The case was briefly mentioned before Judge Leonie Reynolds at the High Court today.

Following Paul McGarry SC’s submissions for Mr Delany, the judge granted the plaintiff leave to serve notice of the proceedings on the defendants.

Permission was required as all four reside outside the jurisdiction.

The lawyer said it is hoped the four defendants will be served in the UK, at the group’s registered address in Knightsbridge in London.

However, there remained a possibility that the two Qatari nationals should be served in their home country, the lawyer said.

If that turns out to be the case, a new application to the court may have to be filed, McGarry added.

The action is not the first proceeding involving an Irish businessman and hotels.

For many years, Mr. McKillen, a partner of Mr. Delany, was a shareholder in the group and was a consultant to the group.

Mr McKillen had been embroiled in a long legal battle with the Barclay Brothers over the band.

However, the billionaire brothers’ interests in the group were later acquired by the Qataris.