Queensland Nickel saga over after bombshell revelations:
Following revelations in the Supreme Court of Queensland last Friday that the legal firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) had deliberately withheld crucial documents from disclosure, the Special Purpose Liquidator has executed a Settlement Agreement with Clive Palmer and all the defendants in the Queensland Nickel case.
The Special Purpose Liquidator (SPL) has withdrawn all claims against Clive Palmer and other defendants.
Justice Mullins of the Supreme Court of Queensland directed last Friday that a solicitor from King & Wood Mallesons who had carriage of the matter must provide an affidavit explaining why the document wasn’t disclosed soon after it was provided to King & Wood Mallesons.
KWM had not yet complied with the Justice Mullins’ direction. Mr Palmer said it wasn’t a good look for the legal profession when a leading law firm and solicitors did not comply immediately with a direction of the Supreme Court of Queensland.
“Maybe that explains why there was a rush to settlement on the following day, Saturday, when the Settlement Agreement was signed and exchanged through KWM,’’ Mr Palmer said.
“If I was aware of the undisclosed document, I would not have caused my companies to have given Aurizon a release the day before the document was disclosed to the court from a $1,600,000,000 claim that was filed against Aurizon in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
“It should be noted that KWM acted for Aurizon in obtaining that release and had also failed to disclose the document in the Queensland Nickel case.
“Many would say it is too close for comfort and maybe that explains why there is no sworn affidavit provided to the court on Friday as to the reason why the document was not disclosed. The document itself destroyed the SPL case,’’ he said.
Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Special Purpose Liquidator has withdrawn all claims the SPL made against Mr Palmer and all the defendants associated with Mr Palmer.
Mr Palmer stated in Brisbane today that it was a disgrace that KWM in breach of their legal obligations to the Court had withheld crucial documents.
“In my opinion, the Sydney partner of KWM responsible for running this case is an obscenity. He has exposed all the partners of KWM, including their partners in China and their global chairman Wang Junfeng in Beijing – a leading member of the Chinese Communist Party – to damages claims from our companies of hundreds of millions of dollars,’’ Mr Palmer said.
“We are currently seeking legal advice in respect of an action against KWM. I wanted to first consider the content of the affidavit that the Court ordered KWM make in respect of this matter before causing companies to commence proceedings.
“It remains to be determined if the lawyers for the General Purpose Liquidator (GPL) also withheld such documents from the Court,’’ he said.
“We offered to pay employees and creditors 100% in 2016 but were prevented from doing so by the fee-hungry liquidator. At last, under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, we will pay 100% of the employee entitlements, FEG and legitimate creditors.
“The amount that is being paid out under the Settlement Deed is 100% of employee entitlements, FEG, and creditors but because of the bogus claims made by the liquidators in court and in the press over the last three years it represents only 40% of the amount that was claimed against us by the liquidators in the case,’’ Mr Palmer said.
“It just goes to show you how these people manipulate the press and the courts.”
The settlement deed provides for the removal of the freezing orders made against Mr Palmer’s and others’ assets.
“This case sends an ominous warning to all of us that we should never prejudge others or get caught up in hysteria which may have no foundation,’’ Mr Palmer said.
“I had no option but to fight this battle to clear my name and to demonstrate to all Australians that serious action is needed to reform the insolvency industry which just destroys and does not build enterprise and jobs.”
Mr Palmer confirmed that under the terms of the Settlement Agreement neither he nor any of his companies would pay the tens of millions of dollars in legal fees and fees paid to and by the Special Purpose Liquidators.
Mr Palmer called upon the Queensland Premier to take urgent action to allow the nickel refinery access to its berth in Townsville so that steps could be taken to commence operations and restore the North Queensland economy.
Mr Palmer also confirmed that although payment of 100% of creditors had been provided for in the SPL Settlement Deed, the General Purpose Liquidator intended to pursue some claims against some of his companies to seek to be awarded money to pay themselves and litigation funders.
Mr Palmer stated that the GPL claims had no merit and were made just to enrich themselves and demonstrated the greed in the industry.