Clive Palmer claims he cannot recall whether he signed cheques for more than $12 million that estranged business partner CITIC Pacific alleges was wrongfully siphoned from a bank account to pay for election campaign spending.
The billionaire MP has conceded that a Brisbane advertising agency was paid $2.167 million from the account just five days before the September 7 election last year.
Addressing the National Press Club yesterday, Mr Palmer insisted his private company Mineralogy was entitled to spend the money as it wanted because it had been paid the cash in return for providing port services in the Pilbara.
As part of the bitter and complex legal dispute between Min-eralogy as landlord of CITIC Pacific's Sino Iron project in the Pilbara, the Chinese State-owned miner has claimed more than $12 million it deposited in a Palmer-controlled bank account was wrongfully withdrawn.
Documents filed in the Queensland Supreme Court show CITIC wants to subpoena Brisbane advertising agency Media Circus Network - which helped book advertising for the Palmer United Party last year - for contracts and invoices after it received $2.167 million on September 2.
CITIC is also seeking to subpoena Mineralogy subsidiary Cosmo Developments, which banked $10 million on August 8, and Mr Palmer to hand over the cheque book or butts for the two payments.
Mr Palmer said yesterday he had no recollection of whether he personally signed the cheques.
"I can't recall," he said. "If I can't recall, it means I can't recall but it's not a significant matter."
Mr Palmer denied Chinese money was used to pay for his party's election campaign.
"We had an obligation to provide port services and our company Queensland Nickel provided those services and they were paid for them," he said.
"They were no longer Chinese funds, so that's the reality of it.
"It's not the Chinese bank account, it's Mineralogy's bank account and it was paid for at the direction of our companies."
Mr Palmer said he did not know specifically why Media Circus Network was paid $2.167 million but "if it went to Media Circus it would have paid for advertising but Mineralogy has got the right to do that".
He said the party would disclose details of its funding when it lodges its election return with the Australian Electoral Commission later this year.
Mr Palmer said CITIC owed Mineralogy about $600 million and had shipped about $150 million of iron ore to China this year without paying royalties.