Liquidators Apply to Freeze Tinkler’s Stake in Whitehaven Coal

Liquidators acting for Blackwood Corp. applied to freeze the assets of former Australian mining billionaire Nathan Tinkler, including his stake in coal producer Whitehaven Coal Ltd.

The application to the Supreme Court of New South Wales state also seeks orders to freeze the assets of the A$1.4 billion ($1.4 billion) Tinkler Family Trust and his wife Rebecca, its trustee, Blackwood said today in a statement. Tinkler’s wife owns the units and manages the trust that holds about 19.5 percent of the outstanding shares of Sydney-based Whitehaven, Tinkler testified in the court in March. The stake is now valued at about A$452 million.

Blackwood and other Tinkler creditors are suing the directors of Mulsanne Resources Pty, a company associated with the Tinkler Group, for insolvent trading and breach of their duties as directors after failing to complete a share purchase in Blackwood.

Tinkler, who testified in court in March that he’s living on an allowance that he gets from his wife, agreed in May 2011 to buy A$28.4 million of shares in Blackwood, a Brisbane-based coal company. Mulsanne failed to come up with the money, and Blackwood forced the company into liquidation in November in a bid to recoup the debt.

Tinkler was listed as one of three directors of Mulsanne in an Australian Securities and Investments Commission document. He knew Mulsanne had no assets when he offered to buy the Blackwood shares, Blackwood said. That amounts to insolvent trading, which is illegal in Australia.

The electrician-turned-entrepreneur was ranked as Australia’s youngest billionaire at the age of 35 by BRW magazine in 2011 after he sold his house in 2006 to help buy a A$30 million Middlemount coal lease in Queensland.

He sold the lease a year later to Macarthur Coal Ltd. for about A$465 million in cash and shares. He’s now struggling to meet creditors’ demands, with several of his companies having been threatened with liquidation for not paying debts and taxes.

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