Arrest warrant issued for former mining billionaire

Ex-billionaire Nathan Tinkler bought Patinack Farm at the height of his wealth.
Ex-billionaire Nathan Tinkler bought Patinack Farm at the height of his wealth.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Nathan Tinkler did not turn up in court for questioning over the collapse of his business

SYDNEY • An Australian court issued an arrest warrant for former mining billionaire Nathan Tinkler after he failed to appear for questioning over the collapse of his thoroughbred horse racing and breeding business.

Court officials said Tinkler had been summoned to appear in the Supreme Court in South Australia state to give evidence about the liquidation of his Patinack Farm.

Judge Steve Roder agreed to a subsequent request by the liquidator, Anthony Matthews and Associates, to issue an arrest warrant for the former mogul, citing contempt of court. "I accept the submission that in the circumstances, there is no reasonable excuse for Mr Tinkler to have not appeared today," Judge Roder said yesterday.

The court case is looking into the circumstances of the collapse of Patinack Farm three years ago, leaving creditors owed around A$5 million (S$5 million).

Tinkler later told The Australian newspaper he had informed the liquidators he would not be able to attend the hearing. "My lawyer didn't turn up this morning, it would appear to be a bit of a mix-up and they've gone heavy-handed," Tinkler reportedly said. "I'm not running from anything," he added.

NOT RUNNING AWAY

My lawyer didn't turn up this morning, it would appear to be a bit of a mix-up and they've gone heavy-handed. I'm not running from anything.

FORMER MINING BILLIONAIRE NATHAN TINKLER

A spokesman for the former mining billionaire, who moved to Singapore several years ago, could not be reached for comment.

Patinack Farm was one of the side businesses Tinkler snapped up at the height of his wealth.

The ex-pit electrician rose up the rich lists to become Australia's youngest billionaire by riding the country's mining boom, before losing it all as coal prices started to slide in the second half of 2012.

Tinkler announced the sale of the stud farm for an undisclosed sum to a mystery consortium led by United Arab Emirates-based investment firm Cibola Capital more than a year ago, saying the deal would help fund his renewed coal ambitions.

That deal fell through amid questions about the legitimacy of the buyer. The farm was sold earlier this year to Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung.

Tinkler's former business partners in Patinack Farm, Troy Palmer and Tony Marshall, had been subpoenaed to appear in court, but were excused after supplying written statements.

Tinkler had attempted a comeback in mining, but a deal to buy a closed thermal coal mine from Peabody Energy fell through last year when he failed to make payments.

The Supreme Court case was adjourned until Sept 10, with the court again listing Tinkler to appear then. REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'Arrest warrant issued for former mining billionaire'. Print Edition | Subscribe