Canberra chases $ 500m law suit Palmer & co in crosshairs
THE Federal Government is suing Clive Palmer and his missing nephew Clive Mensink for almost half a billion dollars for allegedly breaching their duties as directors of Queensland Nickel and trading while insolvent.
The sensational claim has been lodged in the Supreme Court by the government- appointed liquidators and also includes a bid to claw back hundreds of millions of QN’s money from Mr Palmer’s companies, from Mr Mensink and from two mystery women in Kyrgyzstan and Hong Kong.
It is the Government’s boldest move yet against the beleaguered resources tycoon and is the culmination of more than a year of public hearings into the collapse of QN last January with more than $ 300 million in debts and about 800 job losses.
It comes as a luxury European cruise getaway continues for Mr Palmer, who is also being pursued for $ 73 million he allegedly transferred from QN’s coffers, while Mr Mensink has been on a marathon overseas holiday since June last year.
According to the Brisbane Supreme Court claim, liquidators PPB Advisory will seek a declaration that Mr Palmer was a “shadow director” of QN and should pay compensation of more than $ 207 million for breaching his “statutory duty in his capacity as director”.
Mr Mensink is also being sued for allegedly breaching his duties to the tune of $ 110 million and liquidators seek $ 25 million from loyal Palmer lieutenant Ian Ferguson.
The claim alleges Mr Mensink and Mr Ferguson acted in accordance with Mr Palmer’s wishes when he was not an appointed director.
“Mr Palmer made his instructions and wishes regarding QNI known to Mr Mensink, Mr Ferguson and other officers and employees verbally and in writing, includ- ing through email correspondence and text messages,” the statement of claim alleges.
“Mr Palmer sent emails to Mr Mensink and Mr Ferguson from email accounts including an account in the name ‘ Terry Smith’.”
It is also alleged QN was trading when insolvent as of October 9, 2015 so Mr Palmer and Mr Mensink are responsible for the $ 13 million in debt racked up during that time.
Mr Palmer’s father- in- law Alexander Sokolov and mystery women Evgenia Bednova from Kyrgyzstan and Zhenghong Zhang from Hong Kong are also in the firing line for money allegedly gifted to them.
Ms Bednova is being pursued for almost $ 1 million, Ms Zhang for $ 4.5 million and Mr Sokolov for almost $ 8 million.
Mr Palmer’s other business interests, including his flagship company Mineralogy, are also being sued for more than $ 200 million. Editorial, page 18