Clive Palmer ordered into witness box

UPDATE: 

CLIVE Palmer has lost his bid to avoid questioning in the Federal Court today.

A Federal Court judge dismissed his application to stay the examination by Queensland Nickel liquidators.

Mr Palmer this afternoon took the stand and was being questioned by barrister for Queensland Nickel Robert Newlinds SC.

The pair have already exchanged verbal blows when Mr Palmer tried to avoid questions about his Titanic project, saying he thought he was going to be questioned about Queensland Nickel.

"Do you understand that you are required by the law of this country to answer questions that I ask you, unless the registrar says you don't have to," Mr Newlinds said.

"Are you trying to be as disrespectful as you can be?

"Are you a particularly stupid man, Mr Palmer?"

Mr Palmer replied: "I find that offensive."

The mining magnate has denied he had any way of contacting his fugitive nephew Clive Mensink.

"Mr Mensink is the least of my concern. He's one person, I've got thousands of people to be concerned about," he said.

"I don't see him as a fugitive."

"You've had his phone number for ages," Mr Newlinds told Mr Palmer.

"That's bullsh*t," Mr Palmer replied.

"You have had his phone number for a lot longer than October," Mr Newlinds said.

"That's a lie," Mr Palmer responded.

The examination continues.

Businessman Clive Palmer was due to take the stand at 10am today as part of a Federal Court examination into the collapse of Queensland Nickel. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Businessman Clive Palmer was due to take the stand at 10am today as part of a Federal Court examination into the collapse of Queensland Nickel. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

EARLIER: CLIVE Palmer's lawyers have made a last-ditch bid to keep the billionaire from giving evidence in court today, making an eleventh-hour application for an adjournment.

Mr Palmer was due to take the stand at 10am today as part of a Federal Court examination into the collapse of Queensland Nickel.

But his lawyers said they had last night filed a wider application to have the entire proceeding set aside and lodged an injunction to stop Mr Palmer from having to face questioning, asking that today's hearing be adjourned until the fresh application could be heard.

If Mr Palmer does give evidence today, it will be the first opportunity that barristers for Queensland Nickel liquidators have had to quiz him over claims made by his brother-in-law George Sokolov in court last week.

Despite claims by Mr Palmer that he was not in touch and had no way of contacting his fugitive nephew Clive Mensink, Mr Sokolov told the court last week that he had been in regular touch with Mr Mensink at Mr Palmer's request and that he was "perfectly capable" of helping the pair communicate.

Mr Mensink was the sole registered director of Queensland Nickel when it collapsed in 2016 and he has refused to return to Australia for questioning over the company's failure.

Barrister Robert Newlinds, acting for the Queensland Nickel liqudators, slammed the adjournment application as a "stunt", telling the court it had been brought in an attempt to "manipulate affairs".

He said the application had been brought on a number of grounds including a "particularly bizarre conspiracy theory" that liquidators didn't need to ask Mr Palmer where Mr Mensink was because they already knew.

"There is no evidence the government, whoever that is, knows where Mr Mensink is and there's certainly no logic that because the government knows the Special Purpose Liquidator knows," he told the court.

"The second point is this is some sort of publicity stunt which is a strange assertion from Mr Palmer who doesn't seem adverse to ... publicity."

Registrar Murray Belcher has adjourned the case which will now be heard before a judge at 11.30am.



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