Court orders freezing of Palmer’s assets

More than $500 million of Clive Palmer’s personal and business assets have been frozen as part of a long-running dispute with Queensland Nickel liquidators.

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice John Bond handed down his judgment on Friday.

It featured orders to freeze more than $200 million of the mining magnate’s own assets, including his Cessna plane, vintage cars and several properties.

More than $343 million worth of assets relating to his many business ventures were also frozen.

Palmer’s lawyers immediately requested the directions not be enforced for 21 days, when it would appeal the decision.

Dominic O’Sullivan QC offered to deposit $200 million of Mineralogy funds into the liquidators’ bank account until the appeal could be heard.

But he was quickly forced to withdraw it after one of his colleagues spoke to Palmer, who was not in court, who said he wanted accounting advice first.

Justice Bond said one of the reasons he made the orders was because of a real risk Palmer would “attempt to frustrate or inhibit the prospects of enforcement or execution of any significant judgment against him or any of his companies”.

He said if he were to stay the freezing of the assets directions for 21 days, the risk increased that Palmer or his companies would dispose of, deal with or diminish their value.

As such he rejected the application on the grounds it would be unfair to deprive the liquidators “of the protection” he thought was warranted, particularly when Palmer had withdrawn the $200 million security.

Justice Bond said in his judgment if the mining magnate had the wealth he claimed he did, the making of the orders was not likely to be “significant”.

He also said the general and special purpose liquidators had a “good arguable case” against Palmer and his companies.

The freezing of the assets is part of a wider court case to claw back some of the money owed to creditors following the collapse of Queensland Nickel in 2016.

It will not stop him or his companies from using their assets as part of the ordinary course of business.

Palmer spokesman Andrew Crook said the Justice Bond’s decision was “further evidence of the political witch-hunt against him”.

His lawyers are expected to appeal the decision.

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