Clive Palmer, owner of Queensland Nickel’s liquidated Yabulu refinery, is trying to freeze an attempt by liquidators to sell the assets to PwC.
The mining magnate believes the liquidator are attempting to avoid his claim (lodged in April) for $1.8 billion in damages.
Queensland Nickel left hundreds out of work and $300 million in debt following its liquidation in January 2016. Since then, there has been an ongoing court case to arrange compensation for former workers and resolve what will happen to the refinery.
Palmer said the liquidator, PPB Advisory, had agreed to sell the assets to merger partner PwC, which would allow them to avoid Palmer Companies’ claim for damages.
Palmer Companies, on hearing the news, attempted to seek a freezing order on liquidation assets at the Supreme Court of Queensland and an injunction against PPB Advisory and PwC. The matter is expected to be heard at the Supreme Court tomorrow
“This deal has been consummated very quickly and in my opinion has been done so partners could avoid liability against my action,” Palmer said. “They can run but they can’t hide.
“Liquidators and administrators have been lying and acting unjustly for years — it’s time that Australians were defended against this industry.”
Palmer went on to compare PPB to famous illusionist Harry Houdini, claiming, “First you see the assets, and then you don’t.”
Kelly-Anne Trenfield, a former administrator and liquidator at Yabulu, admitted in court last month that she had rejected an offer from Queensland Nickel managing director Clive Mensink (incidentally Clive Palmer’s nephew) to pay all administration costs if she were to transfer the refinery’s employees and assets to a new operator.