Mining magnate Nathan Tinkler in legal battle over luxury car club

The youngest person on the BRW Rich 200 list, mining magnate Nathan Tinkler, is embroiled in a legal battle over his investment in a luxury car club that is now in “disarray”, according to a Supreme Court judge.

Tinkler, who was yesterday listed on the rich list with a fortune of $355 million (down from $373 million in 2009), is suing his former business partner Timothy Sommers in the New South Wales Supreme Court over the latter’s role at Supercar International Holdings, a luxury car club which allows members to borrow Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other exotic cars for short periods.

Supreme Court documents show Tinkler and Sommers both owned a 49% stake in the company.

But in the words of Justice Paul Brereton, the pair “have fallen out, and the affairs of the companies are thus in disarray”.

Tinkler is now suing Sommers and his wife Sue Sommers “to recover funds which are said to have been taken by Mr Sommers in breach of his corporate or fiduciary duties as a director and applied to the acquisition of assets in the form of motor vehicles or real property into which it is said that they can now be traced.”

Sommers has denied those claims and launched a counter claim, suing Tinkler “for moneys which he claims are due to him under a share sale agreement and service agreements”.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the spat, which is set to return to court on June 21, has cast a pall over the future of the car club its 80-odd members.

According to court documents, the origins of the spat date back to December 30, 2008, when Supercar International raised $1,462,952 in capital from Tinkler.

Tinkler is best known for selling his business Custom Mining in 2007 to Macarthur Coal for $275 million in cash and shares and reinvesting a big slice of the proceeds into thoroughbred racing and breeding.

In recent months he has re-emerged in the resources sector with his company Ashton Coal, which last year bought the Moules Creek mining project in Queensland from Rio Tino and plans to float later this year.

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