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EXCLUSIVE

Clive Palmer's nephew in sights of Queensland Nickel administrators

A multimillion-dollar Gold Coast mansion, one of the jewels in the crown of Clive Palmer's family property interests, could be in the sights of administrators chasing debts from the wealthy politician's failed nickel business.

Sources close to Queensland Nickel said voluntary administrators were looking at assets linked to Mr Palmer's nephew and close business confidante, Clive Mensink.

The 48-year-old Mr Mensink is the sole director of Queensland Nickel and its parent companies, QNI Resources and QNI Metals.

Although QNI Resources and QNI Metals were not placed in administration they could be pursued for debts incurred by Queensland Nickel if the company is placed into liquidation.​ Mr Mensink could be held liable if it is found Queensland Nickel was operating while insolvent.

Days before the North Queensland nickel refinery was placed into administration on January 18, Mr Mensink resigned as director of a string of Palmer-related companies. This was seen as a way to quarantine the rest of the resource's owner turned federal MP's business empire from any financial fallout from the failed company.

Mr Mensink, a long-term business partner of Mr Palmer, has been receiving a $200,000-plus salary since he became managing director of Queensland Nickel in 2013.

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Mr Palmer said Mr Mensink was still actively involved in the day-to-day running of the Townsville-based company, which Mr Palmer bought from BHP in 2009.

Administrators are hopeful Queensland Nickel can trade out of its current position, despite a plunge in world nickel prices. Queensland Nickel sacked 237 workers earlier this month, and the fate of the remaining 500 workers remains unclear. Workers are owed up to $16 million in entitlements.

Three homes

Mr Mensink is personally recorded as owning three homes worth about $1.6 million. He has links to a multimillion-dollar asset via his co-directorship and co-shareholding of property-owning private company Holy Spirit.

The $2 dollar company was listed as purchasing the 1 King Arthur's Court house at Sovereign Island, on the northern end of the Gold Coast, for $9.5 million in March 2010.

The 2420-square-metre property has a sprawling and highly ornate modern mansion with extraordinary views across the Gold Coast Broadwater to Ephraim Island.

Photos of the property posted on real estate database RP Data reveal it has been lavishly furnished, with vast expanses of marble and huge chandeliers in a grand entrance.

Mr Mensink is a co-director and beneficial co-shareholder of Holy Spirit, the company, with 64-year-old Bulgarian-born Stiliana Sokolova, who is listed in company records as living at a very modest property in Darra in Brisbane's outer western suburbs.

Mr Palmer also owns luxury properties on Sovereign Island.

Between January 10 and 12, Mr Mensink resigned as director from a number of Clive Palmer-controlled companies, including parent company Mineralogy and China First, which is linked to the business tycoon's yet-to-be-developed coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland. Mr Palmer's wife, Anna, replaced Mr Mensink as director of these companies.

Mr Mensink did not respond to questions from The Australian Financial Review.

Mr Palmer said the changes to Mr Mensink's directorship allowed his nephew time to focus on the survival of Queensland Nickel.

"All it was was that Clive Mensink didn't want to serve on other companies and wanted to devote all his time to Queensland Nickel," Mr Palmer said.

"The company still has to operate – the administrator doesn't know how to make nickel. So staff still operate the plant, so you need him to do that."

The Sokolova family is connected to Mr Palmer's wife Anna, according to sources.

On Wednesday, at the Darra residence listed for Ms Sokolova, a middle-aged woman refused to comment when asked for information about Mr Mensink's assets.

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