Clive Palmer sues ASIC, its investigator, and even the court over ‘abuse’

Outspoken billionaire Clive Palmer has lodged an extraordinary court action in a bid to finally be rid of criminal charges that have dogged him for over a year.

Jun 21, 2021, updated Jun 21, 2021
Clive Palmer's central Queensland coal project has been rejected under environmental protection laws. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Clive Palmer's central Queensland coal project has been rejected under environmental protection laws. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission charged Palmer with dishonestly using his position as a company director, and fraud, in relation to millions of dollars in transfers when he headed the then Palmer United Party in 2013.

Palmer, a mining, business and property figure, has denied any wrong-doing, and embarked on a persistent social media and newspaper advertising campaign to criticise ASIC. It has run parallel with his political activities, through the outfit now known as the United Australia Party, and led Palmer to also claim to be the victim of a political witch hunt and corporate conspiracy.

Now, in documents lodged in the Supreme Court of Queensland, Palmer has sought a declaration that the allegations against him are flawed, an abuse of process and should be permanently stayed. He has named ASIC, and investigator, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Magistrates Court of Queensland as defendants.

In a wide-ranging claim, Palmer has argued the complaint against him brings the administration of justice into disrepute and is beyond the jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court. He alleges the way his private company, Mineralogy, did business in the past, and other legal proceedings it was involved in, meant the attempted prosecution was unsustainable and destined to fail anyway.

The claim accuses one-time business partner CITIC – “which is ultimate (sic) owned by the People’s Republic of China” – of working with ASIC to put Mineralogy under pressure. It invites further consideration of business dealings he had in 2013-14 that, Palmer claims, invalidate ASIC’s prosecution.

Palmer claims various aspects of the prosecution have already breached his human rights, and he wants an order restraining the Magistrates Court from hearing the case, the CDPP from prosecuting the case, and compelling ASIC to withdraw the case.

Only last month, Palmer discontinued a separate attempt to have the prosecution permanently stayed. His beefed-up claim, which has yet to draw a response from the defendants, seeks costs and “such further or other orders as this Honourable Court considers appropriate, including as to damages”.

It is the latest in a lifetime of lawsuits from Palmer, whose other high-profile cases currently include a multi-billion-dollar damages claim against the West Australian Government, the defence of an Electoral Commission charge in relation to his political activities, and support for Israel Folau’s religious discrimination claim against the Queensland Rugby League.

Palmer, 67, studied law and journalism at university – he never graduated – and at one point listed litigation as a hobby in his Who’s Who entry, although later claimed it was a joke.

The ASIC charges are serious, however, and if found guilty Palmer could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and potentially even a jail term of up to 12 years. The case against him is due for mention in the Magistrates Court in September.

Palmer has also drawn the ire of health authorities for campaigning against COVID-19 vaccines and medical advice, and for supporting sidelined former federal Liberal MP Craig Kelly in his efforts to do the same. He is expected to again be active in the upcoming federal election campaign.

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