Given Clive Palmer's status as a human headline, it is ironic that a $2 million payment to a boutique advertising agency called Media Circus Network has led to unwelcome questions on how he bankrolled his election campaign.
An intriguing picture is emerging from documents filed in the Federal Court and the Queensland Supreme Court on the legal battle between Mr Palmer and estranged business partner CITIC Pacific.
The major dispute between Mr Palmer's flagship company Mineralogy and the Chinese State-owned miner centres on the calculation of royalties CITIC Pacific should pay Mineralogy as landlord for the Sino Iron mine in the Pilbara.
CITIC Pacific in recent weeks has concentrated efforts on finding out what happened to two cheques totalling $12.167 million being cashed at the height of last year's election campaign.
The Bank of China had deposited millions on CITIC Pacific's behalf into a National Australia Bank account in Mineralogy's name to pay for Mineralogy's costs for administering the Cape Preston port linked to the mine.
Mineralogy has recorded these payments as being for "port management services" but CITIC alleges no documentation has been disclosed to substantiate what that actually entailed.
Documents lodged with the Queensland Supreme Court this week show arbitrators presiding over confidential talks between the two parties granted CITIC Pacific's request to apply to a judge for subpoenas to follow the money trail.
Mr Palmer and his nephew Clive Mensink (who is also Mineralogy's company secretary) are among those CITIC Pacific wants to subpoena to hand over the chequebook or butts relating to the two payments. They are being warned they risk arrest if they fail to comply with a subpoena.
Bank records from a wholly owned subsidiary of Mineralogy, Cosmo Developments, are also being sought after it deposited a $10 million cheque on August 8 last year.
Mr Palmer stepped down in May as a director of Cosmo.
More significantly, Brisbane advertising agency Media Circus Network is the subject of another subpoena application after it cashed a cheque for $2.167 million on September 2, just five days before polling day.
CITIC is seeking contracts, quotes and invoices linked to the payment.
While the affidavit is silent on what services Media Circus Network provided, _The Weekend West _ has learnt the agency booked advertising space on PUP's behalf during the campaign.
Mr Palmer revealed in November the party spent between $10 million and $12 million on its campaign but other estimates have put it closer to $20 million.
The spending was effective as PUP won Senate seats in Queensland and Tasmania, with a third coming its way in the re-run WA Senate poll. Mr Palmer again lavished millions on that campaign.
While most political parties are cash-strapped after elections, Mr Palmer said in March PUP was yet to bank a $2.4 million cheque from the Australian Electoral Commission.
Mr Palmer insisted this week allegations PUP misused Chinese money were a "complete untruth" and claimed Rupert Murdoch's newspapers and the Chinese Government were conspiring against him.
"That is the sort of thing you get from the Murdoch press because they are desperate to protect the Prime Minister and the Government from scrutiny," Mr Palmer told Channel 7.
'They (the Murdoch press) are desperate to protect the Prime Minister.'" *Clive Palmer *