Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 June 2020

Battle over London’s Ritz turns personal as 'spying' footage leaks

Nephew of Sir Fredrick Barclay is allegedly shown handling device in January

Sir Frederick Barclay, left, and Sir David Barclay outside Buckingham Palace after receiving their knighthoods. The twins started their careers in the accounts department of General Electric. Getty Images
Sir Frederick Barclay, left, and Sir David Barclay outside Buckingham Palace after receiving their knighthoods. The twins started their careers in the accounts department of General Electric. Getty Images

CCTV footage has leaked that allegedly shows the nephew of Sir Fredrick Barclay handling a listening device at London’s Ritz hotel.

The video, reportedly captured in January 2020, stands at the centre of a bitter legal feud between the billionaire Barclay twins.

The brothers’ portfolio of businesses includes the Telegraph Media Group, the delivery business Yodel and the online retailer Very Group.

At the time of the bugging, the brothers also owned the Ritz, which is the focus of the bitter family row.

Sir Frederick, 85-year-old and the marginally older of the twins, and his daughter Amanda are suing three of Sir David Barclay’s sons for invasion of privacy.

The pair claim surveillance in the Ritz gave Sir David Barclay and his sons a commercial advantage during the sale of the hotel which was sold for half its commercial value.

The CCTV footage, which has been released online, allegedly shows Alistair Barclay handling the recording device and hiding it inside a plug adaptor. The plug adaptor was then placed into a socket at the Ritz hotel, the BBC reported.

In court documents, Sir Frederick and Amanda claim the listening device was placed in the hotel conservatory, where the older Barclay twin liked to conduct business meetings.

They claim the recordings allowed “commercial espionage on a vast scale” and recorded more than 1,000 conversations over 94 hours.

The High Court had declined to release the footage but said the claimants could make the material available if they chose to do so.

Sir Frederick hopes the release of the video would lead to a change in the law "to prevent people outside the authorities using sophisticated spying devices that have such an intrusive impact".

Updated: May 18, 2020 03:51 PM

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