Sabotage, secret cameras and intrigue: Inside the Barclay family’s feud over the London Ritz

Frederick Barclay and his daughter accuse his nephews of spying on their conversations

New York Weekend Edition /
May.May 24, 2020 12:00 PM
Sir Frederick Barclay and the Ritz London (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images, Ritz London)

Sir Frederick Barclay and the Ritz London (Photo by Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images via Getty Images, Ritz London)

A high-stakes drama worthy of a soap opera — complete with hidden cameras and big inheritances — is playing out with the Ritz Hotel in London as a backdrop.

Twin billionaires Frederick and David Barclay bought the five-star hotel in 1995 for 75 million pounds. Now, the aging brothers and their respective children are feuding over the sale of the property.

In the saga’s latest update, Frederick this week released hidden camera video footage allegedly showing his nephew Alistair planting a listening device in a room where Frederick and his daughter met to discuss the Ritz sale, according to Bloomberg.

Frederick’s attorney, Hefin Rees, has alleged in court that Alistair and his two brothers are trying to freeze out his daughter, Amanda, from the sale. They sued in January, around the same time Alistair allegedly planted the bug.

The listening device reportedly captured 94 hours of audio over several months, allowing Frederick’s three nephews to anticipate “every move in advance [and] plan their business strategy around that.”

Frederick and Amanda have said they received a 1.3 billion pound offer for the hotel from Saudi Arabia-based Sidra Capital. David’s sons say that isn’t true and claim that their relatives’ talks about “sensitive commercial matters” with outside parties have “the potential to be disruptive and damaging to the family’s business interests.” [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch


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