23 Net tight­ens on Palmer di­rec­tor

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - ELLEN WHINNETT IN SOFIA, BUL­GARIA,

CLIVE Mensink may fi­nally be brought to ac­count in Aus­tralia, with au­thor­i­ties pre­par­ing po­ten­tial charges against the fugi­tive busi­ness­man, which would clear the way for his ex­tra­di­tion.

The Sun­day Her­ald Sun can re­veal a le­gal path has been iden­ti­fied for get­ting the run­away nephew of Clive Palmer back to Aus­tralia from Europe, where he fled two years ago af­ter the col­lapse of Mr Palmer’s Queens­land Nickel.

We can also re­veal that Mr Mensink, who has been hid­ing in Bul­garia in Eastern Europe for most of his time on the run, has left Bul­garia, cross­ing the bor­der into the Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia this month.

He has avoided two Fed­eral Court ar­rest war­rants in Aus­tralia af­ter fail­ing to ap­pear in court for ques­tion­ing on the col­lapse of the com­pany, which left 800 peo­ple out of work.

How­ever, in re­cent weeks au­thor­i­ties have in­creased the pres­sure on Mr Mensink, and the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion is con­sid­er­ing is­su­ing a Sec­tion 19 sum­mons, which car­ries a jail term of up to two years for non-com­pli­ance.

A fail­ure to re­spond would al­low ASIC to is­sue a crim­i­nal war­rant for his ar­rest through the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice, and the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral could then seek his ex­tra­di­tion.

Mr Palmer has also been or­dered to ap­pear in the Fed­eral Court in Bris­bane on Wed­nes­day for a pub­lic hear­ing, where he will be ques­tioned on his in­volve­ment with Queens­land Nickel when it col­lapsed with Mr Mensink as sole di­rec­tor.

Au­thor­i­ties are thought to be look­ing at whether Mr Mensink al­lowed Queens­land Nickel to trade while in­sol­vent, and whether Mr Palmer acted as a shadow di­rec­tor, con­trol­ling the com­pany from be­hind the scenes. Queens­land Nickel also pumped more than $21 mil­lion into Mr Palmer’s po­lit­i­cal party be­fore it col­lapsed un­der debts of more than $215 mil­lion.

Mr Palmer has fam­ily in Bul­garia, and has been pay­ing his nephew — who the Sun­day Her­ald Sun found in Sofia in Fe­bru­ary — $4000 a week.

Both ASIC and the liq­uida­tors de­clined to com­ment.

The Sun­day Her­ald Sun be­lieves Mr Mensink, 50, has be­come tired of liv­ing in Bul­garia and be­ing away from his fam­ily in Aus­tralia.

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Chris­tian Porter said the gov­ern­ment did not dis­close ex­tra­di­tion re­quests and that “as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple Mr Mensink should re­turn to Aus­tralia of his own vo­li­tion to face up to his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and the peo­ple of Queens­land”.

Clive Mensink in Sofia, Bul­garia and (right) his un­cle, Clive Palmer.

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