Former Aussie coal billionaire and Singapore resident Nathan Tinkler declared bankrupt

Former Australian coal baron Nathan Tinkler resigned as chief executive of Anglo Pacific Coal on Feb 10, 2016.
Former Australian coal baron Nathan Tinkler resigned as chief executive of Anglo Pacific Coal on Feb 10, 2016.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Former Australian coal baron Nathan Tinkler on Wednesday (Feb 10) resigned as managing director of Anglo Pacific Coal after losing a legal battle over money he owed from the sale of a luxury jet and being declared bankrupt.

Mr Tinkler, 40, rode the mining boom to become Australia's youngest billionaire before losing it all when coal prices collapsed.

The bankruptcy was declared in Australia's Federal Court on Tuesday and stems from a complaint from GE Commercial Australasia Pty, which claimed he owed US$2.25 million (S$3.14 million) on a Dassault Falcon 900C he once owned.

Mr Tinkler, who resides in Singapore, was not immediately available for comment. He told The Australian newspaper on Tuesday that he would appeal against the ruling.

Under Australian law, bankrupt individuals are barred from holding corporate directorships. Mr Tinkler was in October appointed chief executive of Australian Pacific Coal, which has agreed to acquire the majority of a coal mine from Anglo American.

A statement from Anglo Pacific Coal announcing the resignation, also said Mr Tinkler would continue to act as a technical adviser to the company and that the deal with Anglo American was not affected by the bankruptcy ruling.

The one-time electrician who was ranked as Australia's 26th-richest person by Forbes in 2012, made an initial attempt at a comeback two years ago. But a deal to buy a mine from Peabody Energy fell through when he failed to make a A$70 million (S$69.1 million) closing payment.

As coal prices plummeted, Mr Tinkler was forced to sell an array of assets purchased with the proceeds from his coal businesses, including a beloved thoroughbred horse farm and a professional soccer club to repay debts.

The action, taken by GE Commercial, is related to the forced sale of the private jet. In 2012, receivers impounded a luxury plane in Singapore and a helicopter in Brisbane.

Mr Tinkler argued the currency conversion had been incorrect and the debt had been recorded in US dollars, the Daily Telegraph reported.