Palmer battles asset freeze bid in court

Alexandra Patrikios
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Clive Palmer is fighting a legal bid by liquidators to freeze more than $200 million of his assets.

Liquidators trying to freeze more than $200 million worth of Clive Palmer's personal assets argue he had "considerable control" over Queensland Nickel, even though he claims he slept through the appointment of administrators to the failed company.

The former politician appeared in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday to fight a high-stakes legal bid by taxpayer-funded liquidators to freeze his personal assets.

Government-appointed special purpose liquidators PPB Advisory are also seeking freezing orders against the assets of Palmer-related companies, such as QNI Metals, QNI Resources and Mineralogy.

After calling himself as a witness, Mr Palmer told the barrister for the special purpose liquidators, Shane Doyle QC, he was asleep when administrators were appointed in January 2016.

He said this took place at his property on the Gold Coast, with his nephew Clive Mensink and his executive Daren Wolfe present.

"I went to bed at about nine o'clock (and) they continued through the night and signed the documents the next day," he said.

Mr Palmer's evidence was later put on hold so the court could hear from liquidator Stephen Parbery, who appeared via videolink from Italy.

He said it was the special purpose liquidators' view Mr Palmer had "considerable control over the day to day operations" of Queensland Nickel.

But these contentions couldn't be explored further by examining his elusive nephew Mr Mensink, given his whereabouts were still unknown, the court heard.

Mr Parbery also said concerns remained about whether or not a so-called "little green notebook" kept by Mr Palmer was written contemporaneously.

But forensic tests couldn't be undertaken because the book was written in pencil, he told the court.

In court documents, Mr Palmer has criticised his opponents' case as largely baseless and lacking in the necessary urgency to justify such orders being made.

But the liquidators have hit back, arguing "real doubt must be had" about Mr Palmer's claims freezing orders could "sensibly further erode" commercial sentiment given events such as the failure of the Yabulu nickel refinery.

Their submissions also revealed concerns about Mr Palmer's alleged willingness to "orchestrate arrangements which seek to defeat creditors of QNI as and when it suits him".

The hearing will continue before Justice John Bond on Friday.