Clive Palmer. Picture: Kym Smith
Clive Palmer. Picture: Kym Smith

Palmer loses bid to hide his wealth

CLIVE Palmer has lost a last-ditch bid to keep his wealth a secret, with a judge ordering him to produce a full list of his assets by July 11.

Mr Palmer had been ordered to provide the extensive list to the lawyers for liquidators investigating the collapse of Queensland Nickel after they won a battle to have his assets frozen last month.

As part of the freeze, Mr Palmer was ordered to hand over the list of his assets, their value and location but he's now fighting that order in the appeal court and today requested the disclosure be stayed pending an appeal of the entire freezing order.

Lawyers for Mr Palmer argued the disclosure could give liquidators unfair advantage and hinder the billionaire's business deals.

"The broad submission is that information of this nature is private information and parties are not ordinarily required to disclose their private information to a counter party in a proceeding," Mr Palmer's barrister Kris Byrne said.

He said the information was "commercially sensitive" and "information that can't be unlearned by the respondents".

Barrister Tom Sullivan for the liquidators said there was no risk of a third party such as businesses or media accessing the list of assets because Justice John Bond had ordered the document be kept confidential between the parties.

"The affidavit gets sworn and served but my understanding is it doesn't get filed so it doesn't go on the registry," he said.

"If there are truly commercially sensitive matters then they can be identified specifically."

Justice Robert Gotterson said he was mindful that the disclosure orders were made to "maintain the effectiveness" of the overall freezing order.

"That seems to be the issue whether if this information is given there's some irretrievable loss flowing from it," he said.

"The prospect he (Mr Palmer) raised of third party access of the information would probably have more bite.

"Reading his affidavit the apprehension I expected him to have was that if he makes the affidavit and its filed on the court and accessed by third parties with whom he's negotiating business deals, that would be to his prejudice."

Justice Gotterson said Mr Palmer had argued it would take months to analyse the value of cobalt still on site at Queensland Nickel.

"He maintains that to provide a reliable list of assets above the value of $2 billion dollars including personal assets would take between six and nine months given their diversity, geographical spread he does not maintain an inventory of these assets and he would need an independent valuer to value them to comply with (the order)," Justice Gotterson said.

Would Mr Palmer be prejudiced irretrievably if (the disclosure) orders are not stayed and he wins an appeal, I am quite unpersuaded that he would be," he said.

"If the appeal succeeds and the freezing orders against him are discharged, he will not have been irremediably harmed by having supplied this information.

"Certainly his evidential material does not demonstrate harm."

Justice Gotterson dismissed the application for stay and ordered Palmer disclose the location and value of all assets with the one exception of the cobalt at Queensland Nickel pending the outcome of his appeal of the freezing order.