Big name MP drops spots before legal hot water
Federal MP and (possibly former) mining magnate Clive Palmer has resigned several directorships ahead of a court battle with a Chinese conglomerate.
Mr Palmer has given up the top job at the company he founded, Mineralogy, which is about to enter into a court dispute with the Chinese government-owned Citic Pacific Corporation.
He has also given up his position at two companies in charge of the loss-making and toxic waste-leaking Yabulu nickel refinery.
Mineralogy’s recent accounts have shown a net loss of around $104 million in the year to June 2013.
A run of low nickel prices saw QNI Resources and QNI Metals – the firms behind the Yabulu plant - racking up “deferred tax assets” close to $130 million. Deferred assets are used to avoid paying tax as a business returns to profitability.
The legal stoush with Citic Pacific is over royalty payments for the $10 billion Sino Iron project in the Pilbara.
Citic says Mineralogy has given up no evidence that would explain withdrawals totalling $12 million, which came from an account specifically for costs relating to the port at Cape Preston.
Several prominent political figures including WA Premier Colin Barnett has slammed Mr Palmer for damaging Australia’s relationship with China.
They accuse the man, who has brought billions of dollars worth of investment to the country’s resource-producing states, of seizing any small advantage or slice of the money that he can.
Mr Palmer has formerly denied any such wrongdoing.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney last month described Mr Palmer as a “crook”, from a safe vantage behind the protection of parliamentary privilege.
Seeney now says that as a federal parliamentarian, Palmer must tell the Australian public what is going on.