Do not underestimate Clive Palmer’s ability to survive the damning allegations now facing the larger-than-life mining entrepreneur turned politician and the way his failed Queensland Nickel business was run.
Administrator John Park told journalists that Palmer and his nephew and fellow director Clive Mensink behaved “recklessly” and used Queensland Nickel as a “piggy bank” to dissipate funds throughout his business empire when required.
Palmer’s political career looks short-lived if media reports of the rising tide of resentment towards him in his own state are correct, and he potentially faces further action over the way the company operated.
The ball is now in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s court in relation to any criminal allegations against Palmer and Mensink, but ASIC’s chairman Greg Medcraft may be tempted to go after softer targets, such as the banks, given the regulator’s limited budget.
The administrator’s report into the collapse of Queensland Nickel, outlining payments related to vintage cars, a Cessna aircraft and luxury resorts, dissects the sometimes bizarre machinations of Palmer’s political, mining and tourism empire. It makes for spectacular reading but it is no laughing matter for the hundreds of Townsville workers out of a job and owed money.
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