Big loss for Clive Palmer as court case against ASIC thrown out

Mining magnate Clive Palmer has failed in a Supreme Court bid to stop criminal charges proceeding against him.

Nov 16, 2022, updated Nov 16, 2022
Clive Palmer's coal project were vetoed while Whitehaven's was given the green light  (AAP Image/Darren England)

Clive Palmer's coal project were vetoed while Whitehaven's was given the green light (AAP Image/Darren England)

Palmer lost the latest round in his legal fight against the corporate watchdog and regulator after being hit with charges on two fronts.

The billionaire businessman and his company Palmer Leisure Coolum were charged by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in 2018 for alleged takeover law breaches.

The charges relate to a proposal to buy out investors in timeshare villas at Palmer’s Coolum resort on the Sunshine Coast which did not eventuate.

Following an Australian Securities and Investments Commission probe, Palmer and his company were accused of breaches after announcing the takeover of The President’s Club company’s shareholders in 2012.

They failed to make a takeover bid within two months of announcing it as required by law, ASIC alleged.

In another matter, Palmer was also charged two years ago with two counts each of dishonestly using his position as a director and fraudulently gaining a benefit.

The fraud and corporate misconduct charges relate to Palmer’s transfer of more than $12 million through his company Mineralogy between August 5 and September 5 2013.

ASIC alleges Palmer transferred the money to bank accounts held by Media Circus and Cosmo Developments ultimately for the benefit of the Palmer United Party to fund its 2013 federal election campaign.

Palmer launched legal action in the Brisbane Supreme Court to stop all the charges proceeding with summary judgment applications.

“Further applications have slapped onto the registry counter like cards in an enthusiastic game of Uno,” Justice Peter Callaghan wrote in his judgment.

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Addressing a Supreme Court hearing in February, Palmer said the fraud and misconduct charges and resulting Magistrates Court proceeding were “an abuse of process”.

He also claimed the ASIC complaint and Magistrates Court proceeding “were unlawful” and did not take into account his human rights.

However, Justice Callaghan on Wednesday dismissed an application for summary judgment to proceed in both Palmer’s matters.

He also ordered – after it was sought by commonwealth defendants ASIC and DPP – Palmer’s Supreme Court matters be permanently stayed.

Palmer is set to answer the charges in Brisbane Magistrates Court with his alleged takeover law breach matter set for mention next month.

Justice Callaghan also ordered Palmer pay the commonwealth defendants’ costs as well as those for the Queensland attorney-general.

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