Clive Palmer has a lot to explain in relation to allegations that he had final approval over millions of dollars’ worth of spending by Queensland Nickel after his public departure from the company, with the implication he was acting as a shadow director.
The ABC revealed this morning that Clive Palmer was involved in Queensland Nickel purchasing decisions while he was not listed as a director of the company.
Approvals for purchasing decisions were received from Palmer’s “Terry Smith” email account alias, as well as directives for operational activities.
The emails show Palmer approved purchases including $8 million for haulage and mining works, a $6.3 million nickel mining contract, $1 million for operation of turbo mist fans, and more than $1 million for IT services.
The emails also showed Palmer exercised power of veto over spending decisions, rejecting expenditure for a maintenance inspection of the refinery’s 25km underground pipeline, and denying expenses of $3546 for lubrication oil and $13,114 for a portable gas analyser.
The emails revealed Palmer ordered staff to delay the pipeline inspection an additional year, despite advice and warnings about the risk of such a decision from his nephew and QNI procurement director Martin Brewster.
Palmer has argued that he was merely one member of the company’s expenditure committee, however Four Corners said he was the final approver with power of veto.
Palmer’s role in the company is currently under investigation by ASIC and company administrators FTI Consulting.
If the company engaged in trading while insolvent with Palmer as shadow director, Palmer would be liable for the breach.
When asked if Palmer was acting as a shadow director, managing director Clive Mensink said: “Well that’s your opinion in the media, no one else.”
Four Corners said Palmer rejected several requests for comment, and asked for a live interview instead.
Aside from Queensland Nickel’s donations to the Palmer United Party, which Palmer said was his own money in lieu of dividends owed in 2013, QNI also made other payments for non-company expenses such as a $700,000 donation to a think tank, $220,000 to an advertising firm in early 2015, $141,000 to Tesla Motors around the same time, and a $2.5 million transfer to Mineralogy in July 2014.