Mining industry veteran Michael Kiernan has been hit with an $8.4 million tax bill, with the Australian Taxation Office lodging a writ in the Supreme Court this week claiming the former Consolidated Minerals boss failed to pay $5.9 million tax in the 2007-08 financial year.
The tax office is also claiming up to $2.7 million in interest and penalty payments, according to its legal claim. The writ did not give details of the allegations against Mr Kiernan, but the veteran company director told _WestBusiness _the tax claim was a "private matter", related to the issue of shares and options to a family company.
"I received no benefit from them but I am lumbered with a tax bill on a technicality, not withstanding that I received no benefit," he said. Mr Kiernan said he was still taking legal advice, and could not yet say whether he would fight the claim.
He said he had fallen foul of changes to tax laws made under the Rudd Government, which shifted the taxation point of options to when they were technically exercisable, rather than at the date they were exercised.
After stepping down from his main corporate vehicle, Stirling Resources, in 2010 Mr Kiernan largely disappeared from the Australian-listed mining sector. He is listed as the president of Indonesia-focussed manganese play Asia Minerals Corporation, which is understood to be planning a listing on the local exchange next year.
For the industry veteran, 2007 and 2008 were tumultuous years. After seeing Territory Resources to its first iron ore production, Mr Kiernan fought a bitter takeover battle against former BHP Billiton boss Brian Gilbertson for control of Consolidated Minerals - with both eventually losing out to Ukrainian billionaire Gennadiy Bogolyubov.
In the same year, with the backing of Hong Kong commodities trader Noble Group, he launched a play to build a "mini BHP" and built stakes in a swag of junior mining companies across the country. At the same time he was trying to get the Windimurra vanadium project back into production.
He later fell out with other Territory Resources directors, quitting the board in June 2008 after a clash over the miner's decision to pull out of a bailout of another of his companies, Monarch Gold.