The federal government says legal proceedings, including the serving of documents, have begun in the Supreme Court of Queensland against Clive Palmer, Clive Mensink and 19 other parties associated with Queensland Nickel.
In a statement, employment Minister Michaelia Cash said investigations by the Special Purpose Liquidator, appointed by the Commonwealth Government, had revealed a number of parties may have breached Corporations Laws and may be liable to pay damages to Queensland Nickel in excess of $200 million.
It is alleged that Mr Palmer is indebted to Queensland Nickel for more than $70 million; that Mr Palmer and Mr Mensink are personally liable for damages in excess of $13 million for insolvent trading; and that Mr Palmer, Mr Mensink and Ian Ferguson are liable for breaches of directors’ duties at common law and under the Corporations Act.
Mr Palmer is on a luxury cruise in Europe while Mr Mensink has not been seen in Australia since June last year, according to national media reports.
Queensland Nickel was placed into voluntary administration in January last year, leaving almost 800 workers out of jobs.
Ms Cash said about $66.8 million had been paid to 759 ex-employees of Queensland Nickel under under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) legislation .
About 455 employees still had outstanding entitlements (about $6 million) due to the capping arrangements in this safety net scheme.
“The ongoing work of the Special Purpose Liquidator is intended to ensure creditors ultimately receive the monies they are owed, and to hold responsible those individuals involved in the demise of Queensland Nickel who may have acted unlawfully,” she said.