Nathan Tinkler has been grilled by lawyers for mining group Blackwood Corporation in the New South Wales Supreme Court, following a disastrous year for the once-billionaire.
The questioning began due to his company Mulsanne Resources being placed in liquidation after failing to pay $28 million on a deal to acquire one-third of Blackwood. It comes after several of Tinkler’s businesses have collapsed, with his fortune all but erased.
A spokesperson for Tinkler was contacted this morning, but said there was no comment available. His reluctance to speak about the ongoing turmoil raises even more questions about Tinkler’s precarious financial position.
Tinkler was asked in court about the deal between Mulsanne and Blackwood and said that when he had agreed to the deal, he still had “no definitive plan” on where he would locate the funds.
It was his financiers, he said, which caused some of the problem. He had expected Noble Group, backers of his previous ventures, to come through with the funds. Even though a deadline for the Mulsanne transaction was coming closer, he was “still hopeful that something could be worked out with Noble”.
“I put my faith in the wrong people,” he claimed, according to Fairfax.
Counsel for Mulsanne’s liquidator, Ferrier Hodgson, asked Tinkler why he had only blamed the company’s failure on “expected adverse market conditions”. Tinkler replied he believed the trouble to secure funding fell under that definition.
The questioning was forecast earlier this week, when Tinkler failed to prevent a courtroom examination of himself and three officers of Mulsanne. Earlier this week, Justice Paul Brereton dismissed a claim the case had turned into an “abuse of process”.
Mulsanne was placed into liquidation last November, after agreeing to take up 95 million shares in Blackwood for 30 cents a share.
It is only one of several uspets facing the former coal baron. His reduced wealth has seen him slip down the list of Forbes’ richest people, while his horse racing empire disintegrated late last year.