SYDNEY (REUTERS) – An Australian court issued an arrest warrant on Monday for former mining billionaire Nathan Tinkler after he failed to appear for questioning over the collapse of his thoroughbred 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 beloved 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,” Roder said.
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 from Queensland state. “I’m not running from anything,” he told the paper.
A spokesman for Tinkler, who moved to Singapore several years ago, could not be reached for comment.
Patinack Farm was one of the side businesses sports-mad Tinkler snapped up at the height of his wealth.
The former pit electrician rocketed 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 UAE-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 and Aquis Group chairman, Tony Fung.
Tinkler’s former business partners in Patinack Farm, Troy Palmer and Tony Marshall, had also 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.