Billionaire Clive Palmer’s fugitive nephew Clive Mensink could face criminal charges, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.
Mr Mensink is subject to two arrest warrants after he failed to abort his open-ended travels and return to Australia to face questions about the collapse of Mr Palmer’s Queensland Nickel business.
‘We are looking at a variety of possible offences. It’s fair to say that all possibilities are on the table at this stage,’ ASIC commissioner John Price said on Friday, when asked about possible criminal charges.
Mr Palmer, who is preparing to resurrect his political career at the next federal election, has appointed Mr Mensink the European chief of his Titanic II project.
He said Mr Mensink would live in London to oversee the replica cruise ship project and was excited about the prospect when the pair met recently in Bulgaria.
Mr Palmer has been coy in the past about his nephew’s whereabouts.
At times he said he couldn’t provide a location as they’d been out of touch with each other, despite Palmer companies continuing to pay Mr Mensink about $4000 a week.
In February 2017, Mr Mensink filed an affidavit saying he couldn’t return because of health concerns.
Federal parliament’s corporations and financial services committee on Friday heard ASIC was aware of the media reports about Mr Mensink being in Bulgaria and moving to London.
‘You can assume we are in communications with the relevant authorities,’ Mr Price said when asked about a possible extradition.
‘We’ve certainly thought about various issues around arrest and extradition,’ he added.
‘Our investigation into matters around Queensland Nickel and Mr Mensink’s failure to attend and produce books are looking at potential offences around those activities.’
He said ASIC’s investigation was well advanced, covering issues around whether false or misleading statements had been made, matters in relation to the use of company money within a broader range of groups of Palmer companies and ‘various issues’ around Mr Mensink.
Quizzed by Labor senator Chris Ketter whether Mr Palmer was under any obligation to ask Mr Mensink to return, Mr Price said: ‘Certainly, leaving matters of law aside, I would encourage any people who are in contact with Mr Mensink to encourage him to return to this jurisdiction and answer very important questions that have been raised.’
Queensland Nickel collapsed in 2016 owing creditors millions, and costing 800 Townsville refinery workers their jobs.