23 Net tightens on Palmer director
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.