Tinkler settles over mine royalties
Debt-laden coalmine investor Nathan Tinkler has reached an 11th-hour settlement with former business partner Matthew Higgins, avoiding a long-running royalty dispute over a Queensland mine going to trial.
Mr Higgins' barrister Douglas Savage told the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Friday his client and Mr Tinkler had "settled their dispute" over royalty distribution for the Middlemount coalmine in central Queensland.
The dispute was over a reported $1.2 million in royalties Mr Higgins claimed was inappropriately distributed. The proceeds were paid to a company called Oceltip, which is 75 per cent owned by Mr Tinkler's wife Rebecca and 25 per cent by Mr Higgins' wife Ruth.
Mr Higgins wanted access to Oceltip's records amid concerns some royalty payments were going to Mr Tinkler's private companies.
Had the undisclosed settlement not been reached on Friday, it would have proceeded to a costly trial.
In another development, the Australian Taxation Office formally withdrew from a number of proceedings against Mr Tinkler's companies, after telling the Federal Court in Sydney debts had been paid.
The ATO had been pursuing several of Mr Tinkler's companies, including the Newcastle Jets and his building arm Buildev Group, over unpaid debts.
In the Federal Court last week, Sharif Hammoud, representing the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, said the Newcastle Jets and some of the Buildev companies had made payments to the ATO.
On Friday, Mr Hammoud withdrew two matters relating to the Buildev companies and another matter relating to BD (Qld) Project, an associate company of the group.
In relation to two other matters against Buildev Group and BD (Qld) Project, Mr Hammoud also sought to have the ATO withdraw from the proceedings, as the debt has been paid.
He said a supporting creditor was seeking to be substituted in the matters. The two matters were adjourned until May 17.