Liquidators of Nathan Tinkler’s Mulsanne Resources have applied to examine the former billionnaire and three associates in the NSW Supreme Court.
Junior coal explorer Blackwood Corporation, which last November succeeded in appointing liquidators Ferrier Hodgson to wind up Mulsanne over a $28.4 million debt, told the stock exchange this morning that it had applied to the Supreme Court to issue public examination summonses on Mr Tinkler, fellow directors Troy Palmer and Matthew Keen and former company secretary Aimee Hyde. The application was filed on Monday.
Mulsanne agreed last July to take up 95 million shares in a Blackwood placement at 30 cents a share - then a 50 per cent premium to the prevailing share price - to fund Blackwood's exploration campaign. The share placement would have given Mr Tinkler a 34 per cent stake in Blackwood. But Blackwood shares slumped last year and the company’s shares last traded at 12 cents.
Mulsanne did not go ahead with the placement and Blackwood applied for the company to be wound up. Ferrier Hodgson’s report on the affairs of Mulsanne, which has been filed with the corporate regulator, shows the shelf company has no assets and concludes further investigation is required including into the possibility of insolvent trading.
The directors of a company found to have engaged in insolvent trading can become personally liable for the company's debts and can face criminal charges and jail if they are found to have acted dishonestly.
Mulsanne is one of two Tinkler Group companies in liquidation - the other is Patinack Farm Administration, the main employer at his troubled thoroughbred stud. A number of other Tinkler companies are facing wind-up proceedings, principally from the tax office, including the companies which own the Newcastle Jets and Newcastle Knights football teams.
Last year Mr Tinkler, now resident in Singapore, faced intensifying speculation about his financial position and, as Fairfax Media reported on December 21, his debts to hedge fund Farallon Capital, including principal and interest, of as much as $700 million.
Mr Tinkler’s main asset is a 19.4 per cent stake in Whitehaven Coal, valued at almost $700 million at today’s price of $3.54.