Inside Palmer s legal fights
Inside Palmer's legal fights

Clive Palmer and his companies are locked in more than a dozen legal tussles across Australia, with hundreds of millions of dollars of the billionaire MP's fortune at stake.

As Mr Palmer's party takes the balance of power in the Senate, a search of court registry records by The Weekend West has identified 13 active matters in which Mr Palmer and his business interests are parties, including three against the Commonwealth.

Most notable is complex litigation against his estranged Chinese business partner CITIC Pacific, with at least a dozen cases on it sprawled across the WA and Queensland supreme courts and the Federal Court.

While at the heart of the case is a dispute over the calculation of royalties from the Sino Iron mine in the Pilbara, the Chinese Government-owned miner also alleges Mr Palmer's Mineralogy wrongfully siphoned more than $12 million from a bank account to pay for Palmer United Party's election campaign last year.

According to documents lodged in the Queensland Supreme Court this week, Brisbane advertising agency Media Circus Network was paid $2.1 million from the account just five days before the September 7 poll. This element of the case will be back in court next week.

Palmer faces battle to stop money trail audit

In a separate but related case, Mineralogy is fighting against the Federal Department of Infrastructure over its unwillingness to put the company in charge of security at Cape Preston port, which is linked to the mine.

Veteran WA political scientist Harry Phillips said it was unprecedented in modern Australian politics for someone of Mr Palmer's wealth and business interests to have so much political power and influence. He warned Mr Palmer could take voter damage if he lost cases or acted in his own interests.

Colin Barnett complained in May that Mr Palmer's legal fight with CITIC Pacific had damaged WA's reputation in China and the mining magnate would "sue anyone at the drop of a hanky".

Mr Palmer has previously described litigation as a hobby but last night rejected the suggestion that the myriad court cases would distract him from his political responsibilities.

"I am not a director, I retired from business," he said by text message. "Suggest you talk to someone else."

Other cases include Mr Palmer's nickel refinery near Townsville taking legal action against three companies, including NCA Marketing, part-owned by Glencore.

Queensland Nickel wants NCA to refund $23.5 million the refiner claims it mistakenly paid for coal. The nickel company is also challenging the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's refusal to renew a permit for an emergency overflow pipe amid allegations toxic waste from the refinery had been dumped into the sea.

Mr Palmer is unafraid to launch defamation against critics and is separately suing Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney for claiming he sought favourable Government treatment. He is also suing The Australian for its reporting of his business affairs.

Mr Palmer has been at loggerheads for several years with timeshare owners of villas at his Coolum resort and is appealing a Federal Court decision to reject his challenge to the takeovers panel's terms on how he could buy them out.

But Mr Palmer is having to defend his conduct in a case brought by a former friend and executive William Schoch, who alleges the billionaire reneged on a deal to pay him $1 million a year salary for five years.

The West Australian

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