Resources magnate Clive Palmer has settled the vast majority of the $200 million lawsuit over the collapse of Queensland Nickel, including striking a deal with government-funded liquidators chasing $66 million in taxpayer funds used to cover stunt employee entitlements.
Mr Palmer was absent in the Supreme Court on Monday when the barristers involved in the legal battle showed that a settlement was reached between the billionaire and special function liquidators.
The magnate later released a statement saying he was”vindicated” and”the witch hunt against him was finally over”.
Outside court, particular purpose liquidator (SPL) Stephen Parbery said the settlement was in the”best interests” of creditors and could cover the $66 million in outstanding employee entitlements.
He said it supplied for the”complete repayment of the Commonwealth’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) debt, all other outstanding employee entitlements, and a complete recovery of the vast majority of unsecured creditors”.
The trial will last with a few of contested creditor claims remaining to be managed by the general purpose liquidators against Mr Palmer’s flagship firm Mineralogy.
It comes just days after it emerged Mr Palmer had attained an out-of-court settlement over debts with Aurizon, the largest creditor from Queensland Nickel’s passing in early 2016.
“The complexities of the legal problems facing Mr Palmer and his co-defendants, and the immunity from such parties into the recovery activities, caused lengthy delays to the start of the trial,” Mr Parbery stated.
“With the complete weight of the evidence being laid before the defendants before the trial, settlement discussions were initiated since the trial started.” ‘Nothing more than a witch hunt,’ Palmer states In a statement, Mr Palmer said all payments to creditors could be made in full, in addition to reimbursing all money paid under the Government’s FEG scheme.
Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the SPL withdrew all claims made against Mr Palmer and all of the defendants associated with Mr Palmer. “I had no choice but to fight this battle to clear my name, and to demonstrate to all Australians that serious action is required to reform the bankruptcy industry, which only destroys and doesn’t build jobs and enterprise,” Mr Palmer said. Mr Palmer stated under the terms of the agreement, neither he, nor any of his companies, would cover the tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and fees paid to and from the SPL. He also called upon Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to take urgent action to permit the nickel refinery access to its berth in Townsville, so that measures could be taken to commence operations and restore the North Queensland economy.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said she welcomed the news of the settlement. “It is excellent news to hear that a settlement was reached that will allow the full outstanding employee entitlements to be paid,” she said. “There are still a number of things which are still being handled by the court — I am hopeful that all creditors will now receive their full entitlements.” Cr Hill said it had”been a challenging time for a lot of these companies and former workers”. “Many men and women are still owed money as a consequence of the collapse of the refinery,” she said. “I am sure the complete settlement of those claims could be welcomed.” General purpose liquidators are still pursuing allegations that Mr Palmer was acting as a shadow director and the firm traded while insolvent — claims he has always refused.