The Australian Taxation Office has moved to wind up coal baron Nathan Tinkler’s Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets sports teams along with parent company the Hunter Sports Group, over unpaid debts of around $2.7 million.
The Deputy Commissioner of Taxation filed an application to wind up the Tinkler-owned businesses on the grounds of insolvency in the NSW Federal Court on Wednesday.
The documents show the ATO is owed $184,258 by Hunter Sports Group, $1.063 million by Newcastle Jets Football Operations and $1.424 million by Newcastle Knights.
A spokesperson for the Hunter Sports Group said in a statement the trio of businesses had only discovered the application through the media.
“We are surprised by the move by the ATO, as we have not received notification of this move,” the spokesperson said.
“We advise that any outstanding sum will be paid as soon as possible – well before the reported hearing date on the matter next February.”
The applications have been set down for hearing on February 20.
The spokesperson said it was business as usual for both the Knights and the Jets.
The litigation is the latest blow to Tinkler with the liquidation last month of his horse racing empire, Patinack Farm, and his private company, Mulsanne Resources, which was placed in liquidation after failing to come up with $28.4 million owed to coal exploration company Blackwood Corporation.
Tinkler ended up staging a last minute rescue of Patinack Farm but his current problems represent a fast fall from last year when he was listed as worth $1.13 billion on the Rich List.
Tinkler’s main asset is a 19.4% stake in Whitehaven Coal. However, he failed in his bids to take control of the mining company this year while it has continued to fall in value.