Nathan Tinkler: From Billionaire to Bankrupt

It’s been a tough road for Nathan Tinkler, who at the age of 35, was declared Australia’s youngest billionaire. Just over 5 years later, a week after his 40th birthday, Justice Jacqueline Gleeson officially declared Mr Tinkler bankrupt. This court ruling came over a dispute of a $2.8 million shortfall from the sale of his private, luxury jet to GE Commercial in which Mr Tinkler failed to pay.

Justice Gleeson stated that GE Commercial confirmed that Mr Tinkler’s debt was yet to be paid when handing down the bankruptcy ruling, regardless of Mr Tinklerindicating that “I am in a position to pay. I dispute the amount.”

Although his lawyers indicated that they would seek leave to appeal the Federal Court’s decision, Mr Tinkler failed to lodge an appeal against the ruling in time.

In receiving his bankruptcy judgement and citing his disappointment at this turn of events, Mr Tinkler said, “I would like to apologise to the creditors and my family.”

No doubt his creditors will be left reeling with only getting an apology from Mr Tinkler instead of the $250 million he allegedly owes them. According to documents filed to the Australian Financial Security Authority (ASFA), his only possessions include $2,000 in cash and a property in Rossglen, NSW he bought for $665,000.

If the ASFA document is anything to go by, this is a long way off from the $2.16 million owed to the Tax Office and the $9.5 million he currently owes billionaire Gerry Harvey. It is even further from the combined $US165 million that is owed to a trio of global financial firms, including Credit Suisse. This is Mr Tinkler’s largest debt and is an amount that is secured against various assets located in NSW and QLD that were not listed in the document.

The question here is, how did Mr Tinklerwent from being Australia’s youngest billionaire at 35 to being declared officially bankrupt?

Mr Tinkler’s rise to fortune came when his keen eye was quick to see the potential boom of the coal mining industry. He increased the $1 million deposit he managed to scrape together to buy the unsung Middlemount coal deposit in central Queensland, through his company – Custom Mining – to billions. Custom mining was a labour hire company in which one could hire skilled tradesmen to the mines.

He also bought Newcastle’s major sport teams including the NRL’s Newcastle Knights and the FFA’s Newcastle Jets, and owned horseracing and breeding operation Patinack Farm.

However, due to his reckless spending, in which he blew millions, and the coal-price collapse, his sporting empire began to fall, and he was forced to place the sporting club into voluntary administration, with debts of $2.7 million, already on his way to bankruptcy. Subsequently, his A-League licence for the club was cancelled in May 2015.

In an endeavour to save his falling empire, Mr Tinkler attempted to make his big mining comeback with Australian Pacific Coal. This attempt failed however due to his recent bankruptcy ruling and he was forced to step down.

He confirmed that he was no longer associated with the company, stating that “I do not have a role with Australian Pacific Coal.”

He also joked that, “I might become an activist and have the full support of the government and the media and have no responsibility.”

This is a spectacular fall from grace from the man who was once listed in the BRW Rich 200, debuting at the age of 32, earning the infamous reputation as the “boganaire” through his big spending splurges to a man now officially bankrupt and over $250 million in debt.




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