Clive Mensink, the nephew of Clive Palmer, is believed to be in Bulgaria. There are warrants for his arrest. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt
Clive Mensink, the nephew of Clive Palmer, is believed to be in Bulgaria. There are warrants for his arrest. Picture: AAP/Dave Hunt

Palmer’s nephew may face criminal charges: ASIC

THE corporate watchdog has revealed this morning it is considering possible criminal offences against Clive Palmer's fugitive nephew Clive Mensink.

It has also revealed investigators have spoken to overseas authorities regarding Mr Mensink, who has been hiding in Bulgaria while he faces two arrest warrants seeking his return to Australia to face questions over the collapse of Queensland Nickel.

In a stunning development, Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) boss John Price confirmed the watchdog was now considering a new range of possible offences that Mr Mensink may have committed.

Clive Mensink pictured in Bulgaria at the start of this year, left, and pictured in Australia in 2016, right.
Clive Mensink pictured in Bulgaria at the start of this year, left, and pictured in Australia in 2016, right.

"We have certainly thought about various issues around arrest and extradition," Mr Price told a Joint Senate oversight committee today.

"Just to be clear, our investigation into matters around Queensland Nickel and Mr Mensink's failure to attend (court) and produce books is looking at potential offences around those activities."

Asked by Labor Senator Chris Ketter if the offences included criminal offences, Mr Price said ASIC was looking at a variety of possible offences.

"It's fair to say that all possibilities are on the table at this stage," he said.

He said they were aware of reports that Mr Mensink had been in Bulgaria, that Mr Palmer had been in contact with him and that Mr Mensink may be relocating to London.

"Where there are overseas jurisdictions where people reside and we have an interest in those people, you can assume we are in communication with the relevant authorities there," Mr Price said.

"I would encourage any people who are in contact with Mr Mensink to encourage him to return to this jurisdiction and answer very important questions that have been raised."

It's believed Australian authorities cannot enforce the existing arrest warrants in offshore jurisdictions because they involve a civil, not a criminal, matter.

Clive Mensink and his uncle Clive Palmer pictured in a file photo from 2015 speaking to media about QN.
Clive Mensink and his uncle Clive Palmer pictured in a file photo from 2015 speaking to media about QN.

Pursuing extradition would only become an option if Mr Mensink were to be charged with a serious criminal offence that attracts a jail sentence of two or more years.

Mr Palmer this week announced he had appointed his nephew director of his Titanic II project, which will be managed by his company Blue Star Line's London office.

Mr Palmer's company Queensland Nickel went into liquidation in 2016, owing its 800 workers more than $70 million in unpaid entitlements. According to court documents, other corporate creditors are still chasing more than $141 million in outstanding payments.

Mr Palmer has continually denied he owes any money to staff or creditors and is fighting a mammoth legal battle with liquidators in the Supreme Court.

Mr Mensink was the company's director at the time of its collapse.

Senator Ketter said workers had lost their livelihoods in the collapse of Queensland Nickel and some were still owed debts.

"Despite this, former director Clive Mensink continues to avoid questioning in Australia, now moving on to a new job facilitated by uncle Clive Palmer," he said.

"Mr Palmer is spending up big asking the people of Herbert to vote for him, to trust him again. It's simply unbelievable.

"I urge ASIC to examine the legality of Mr Palmer's actions in these proceedings and take all steps necessary to bring Mr Mensink back to Australia to seek answers for Queensland Nickel workers."