Palmer’s special flight
Supporters meet Mensink in Bulgaria
CLIVE Palmer flew a party of loyal lieutenants and former political candidates on a private plane to visit his fugitive nephew, Clive Mensink, in Bulgaria last month.
Two of the men who joined Mr Palmer aboard the flight to the capital, Sofia, are witnesses who have given evidence in the Federal Court hearings into the collapse of Mr Palmer’s Queensland Nickel refinery.
Mr Palmer and nine other passengers arrived at Sofia Airport on October 1. They were on a private plane chartered from Dutch company Exxaero International and flew from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
They left Sofia four days later on the same business jet, bound for Naples in Italy.
Four days after the visit from the delegation, Mr Mensink, 50, suddenly left Bulgaria and drove a Mercedes across the border to Macedonia with two younger Bulgarian men.
On October 16, Mr Palmer issued a bizarre statement claiming Mr Mensink would be appointed the new European boss of his Titanic II project.
The High Court last week rejected Mr Mensink’s appeal against two Federal Court warrants issued for his arrest.
Passengers on Mr Palmer’s flight included Kristian Rees, a former A-League soccer player who was playing for the Palmer-owned Gold Coast United when its licence was revoked in 2012. He went on to accept a job with Mr Palmer as a property manager for Mineralogy.
He also stood unsuccess- fully for the Palmer United Party in the South Australian seat of Gray in 2013, and for the Senate in 2016. He is now coach of the rebooted Gold Coast United team.
Also on board was former real estate agent and loyal Palmer lieutenant Ian Ferguson and his wife, Aileen. He is a former managing director of operations at Queensland Nickel and gave Mr Palmer his first job.
The liquidators have previously heard that Mr Palmer had Queensland Nickel make a personal loan of $500,000 to Mr Ferguson, which he told the court in 2016 did not have to be re- paid. Mr Ferguson stood unsuccessfully for PUP in the federal seat of Dawson in 2013 and the state seat of Thuringowa in 2015. Also on the passenger list was Martin Brewster and his wife, Pamela. The former director of expansion and major works at Queensland Nickel, and a nephew of Mr Palmer (pictured), he stood unsuccessfully for PUP in the federal seat of Herbert in 2013 and the state seat of Hinchinbrook in 2015. Mr Brewster was one of several employ- ees who received emailed instructions from Mr Palmer about financial decisions at Queensland Nickel, under the alias “Terry Smith’’.
Speaking at his Townsville home yesterday, Mr Brewster said he had nothing to say about the trip or its purpose.
Mr Mensink’s son Ryan, who told the liquidator’s hearings in June that he had no idea where his father was, was also part of the visit.
Others on the flight were Mr Palmer’s Bulgarian wife, Anna, and their two young daughters, Mary and Lucy. No record could be found of her brother, Georgi Sokolov, joining them, but a relative posted a picture, dated October 1, saying he was in Sofia.
Mr Sokolov, also a former PUP candidate and employee, now says he is managing litigation for Mr Palmer.