By Rachel Dally-Watkins
13 May, 2015
THE Supreme Court has dismissed a fraud case brought against Federal MP and Mineralogy founder Clive Palmer by two subsidiaries of Chinese mining company CITIC Pacific.
The case alleged that Mr Palmer appropriated more than $12 million CITIC deposited with Mineralogy – to cover costs of operating a port at Cape Preston, WA, related to the Sino Iron project – for his election campaign and other uses.
The money was reportedly transferred from Mineralogy’s account to the accounts of Media Circus, which developed advertising for the Palmer United Party’s election campaign; and to Cosmo Developments, another enterprise owned by My Palmer.
However, it was repaid by Mineralogy before the case began in late 2014.
Justice David Jackson dismissed the cases on the basis that the money was owned by Mr Palmer and not held in trust; thereby placing him a position that didn’t require a ruling on whether or not the funds were used fraudulently.
“The Administrative Fund contributions made to the bank account were not held on trust by Mineralogy, because the contractual obligations of Mineralogy did not extend to an obligation not to deposit into and thereby mix other moneys in the bank account,” he said.
However neither party escaped criticism from the court. Justice Jackson stated it was his belief that it was the plaintiff’s intention to “not only to obtain the relief claimed in the proceeding but also to embarrass the first defendant at the same time”, while calling Mr Palmer out for an “apparent attempt to manufacture evidence”.
CITIC stated it would investigate the decision.
“Our view remains that the use of this money to bankroll Mr Palmer’s political ambitions and other business interests was inappropriate and unauthorised,” the company stated.
“Justice Jackson also found that Mr Palmer knew the Administrative Fund was to be used solely for authorised costs and reimbursements and knew that the payments to Cosmo and Media Circus were not authorised payments.
“Our view remains that the use of this money to bankroll Mr Palmer’s political ambitions and other business interests was inappropriate and unauthorised.
“As noted by the court, since we launched this action Mr Palmer’s company Mineralogy has repaid a sum including an amount of $12.167 million, on account of the challenged payments.
“We will carefully study the decision, which turns on the technical legal question of whether contributions to the Administrative Fund were held on trust or not.”
Mr Palmer said that what he did with the money was his business.
“People might not like the fact that I donated money to the Palmer United Party but it’s my money, I’ll do what I like with it.”