Former Kleenmaid directors face criminal charges over $13 million fraud; Hockey warns budget pain to impact all; Clive Palmer under threat from carbon tax debt: Midday Roundup

Three former directors of whitegoods distributor Kleenmaid will stand trial on 20 criminal charges, including a $13 million fraud against Westpac and 18 charges of insolvent trading.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is also alleging two directors, Andrew Young and Gary Armstrong, withdrew more than $300,000 from the company’s bank accounts two days before it was placed in administration.

The other director to stand trial is Bradley Young.                     

Kleenmaid entered voluntary administration in 2009 with consolidated debts of almost $100 million.

Hockey warns budget pain to impact all

Treasurer Joe Hockey has signalled tough budget measures will be felt by all, as the Coalition readies for its first budget in May.

Hockey told reporters in Sydney yesterday Australians need to be ready to do the “heavy lifting”, or face lower standards of living.

“Everyone in Australia has to help to do the heavy lifting on the budget,” Hockey says, as quoted by News.com.au.

“If the burden falls on a few, the weight of that burden will crush them.”

Hockey says it’s a “clear choice” for Australians, a lower quality life or a tough budget.

“The reality is that if we do not make the decisions that are necessary in the May budget and if we allow the budget to continue running deficits and increasing debt, Australia will have a lower quality of life, a lower standard of living than that which we’ve had in the past.”

Clive Palmer under threat from $38.5 million carbon tax debt

Clive Palmer’s prized Queensland Nickel business is under threat of being closed with a $35.8 million unpaid carbon tax bill looming, according to The Australian.

Queensland Nickel was given a final warning in December about its failure to pay a bill for the carbon tax. The newspaper reports the Clean Energy Regulator has instructed the government solicitor to force Queensland Nickel into insolvency if it cannot pay the bill.

SmartCompany contacted Queensland Nickel, Palmer and the Clean Energy Regulator for comment but did not receive a response prior to deadline. 

Shares down on open

Aussie shares have opened lower this morning, ahead of a rates decision this afternoon by the Reserve Bank.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 26.6 points to 5368.2 at 12:09pm AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 134.60 points up, 0.82% higher at 16,457.66.

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