Nathan Tinkler declared bankrupt, but claims he can pay

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Nathan Tinkler’s company Australian Pacific Coal has taken a crucial blow, with Tinkler stepping down from the board over a new bankruptcy ruling.

Newcastle Herald reported that a Federal Court judgement found Tinkler bankrupt over the sale of a luxury jet.

Trading in Australian Pacific Coal shares was suspended on Tuesday following the ruling.

Tinkler has disputed the amount he owes to GE Commercial Australia, calculated to be equivalent to $2.8 million when the bankruptcy notice was issued last July, and claimed he has the capacity to pay.

In January Tinkler raised $20 million to finance the purchase of the Dartbrook Coal Mine from Anglo American, for the deal which was revealed on December 24.

A statement from Australian Pacific Coal chairman Peter Zeigler said the latest judgement would not affect the sale of the Dartbrook Mine.

"This Federal Court judgement is a personal matter for Mr Tinkler," Zeigler said.

"While this judgement removes Mr Tinkler's ability to perform his current role for Australian Pacific Coal Limited, this judgement is unrelated to the services he has diligently carried out for the company since his appointment in October 2015. 

"Mr Tinkler will continue providing services in a technical advisory capacity to the company."

Australian Pacific Coal agreed to purchase Anglo American’s 83.33 per cent stake in the Dartbrook operation for approximately $50 million, comprising a cash payment of $25 million and royalty agreement equal to $3 per tonne of coal produced by the operation, and $0.25 for each tonne of coal sourced from other operations but processed at Dartbrook.

At the time, Anglo American said the transaction was subject to “several conditions precedent, including the waiver of pre-emption rights by Anglo American's joint venture partner, Marubeni Coal Pty Ltd ("Marubeni") and the receipt of local and federal government consents for the transfer of the mining and exploration rights related to the operation”.

Tinkler has now stepped down as the CEO and managing director of Australian Pacific Coal, positions he is not be able to hold in his status as a bankrupt, which takes effect from July 15 2015.