A Federal Court judge says it’s fair to assume Clive Palmer’s globe-trotting nephew has “absolutely no intention” of returning to Australia while liquidators want to grill him about Queensland Nickel’s collapse.
Legal representatives for the doomed venture’s special purpose liquidators applied for costs to be secured for Clive Mensink’s appeal to have warrants issued for his arrest set aside.
But Judge Michael Wigney told a hearing on Thursday there had been “complete radio silence” from Queensland Nickel’s former director since he filed an affidavit in June this year.
Mr Mensink left Australia in June 2016, with recent court testimony from his uncle Clive Palmer revealing he is being paid $8019 a fortnight by the former politician’s company, Mineralogy.
“It’s a fair inference that he has absolutely no intention of coming back to Australia while the liquidators intend to examine him,” Judge Wigney said.
The judge said the circumstances of the matter were “somewhat bizarre” and asked Mr Mensink’s barrister, Pat Zappia QC, about the sought-after man’s whereabouts.
“Your Honour, I can’t tell you where he is,” Mr Zappia replied.
The special purpose liquidators’ barrister Tom Sullivan QC said the ongoing payments were “not a comfort” to liquidators – who previously understood Mr Mensink to be retired – that any future costs order could be executed.
He pointed to a lack of material from the opposing side and said there was a “strong prospect” the appeal would fail.
“He’s off somewhere on $8000 a fortnight (and) doesn’t say anything to this court at all,” Mr Sullivan said.
“This appeal’s been instituted for his benefit but he remains mum about what his asset position is.”
He told the court it could be argued Mr Palmer’s nephew had tried to create a “state of wilful blindness” to court orders and since gone “incommunicado”.
“We’ve got a gentleman who we would say has absconded overseas,” he said.
Judge Wigney reserved his decision on the security of costs application for a future date.