Tinkler calls Singapore home

By , 10/07/2019 12:24

Embattled coal magnate Nathan Tinkler has quietly moved to set up a new company in tax haven Singapore as he continues efforts to sell assets in Australia.

The debt-laden former electrician has also moved to tighten his grip on his business in Singapore by tipping out the local director of his existing company, Bentley Resources, and taking control as sole director and shareholder.

He is also the sole director and shareholder of the new company in the Singaporean group, Bentley Resources Administration, which is a subsidiary of Bentley Resources.

A spokesman for Mr Tinkler declined to comment on the new Singaporean structure.

Singaporean company records show Mr Tinkler embarked on the restructure in late April, less than a fortnight after liquidators of his failed Australian company, Mulsanne Resources, said they planned to bring legal action against him for insolvent trading.

ASX-listed junior miner Blackwood Corporation forced Mulsanne into liquidation last year after Mulsanne failed to honour a deal to pay $28 million for a third of Blackwood.

However, that claim was settled for $12 million earlier this month, putting the liquidator’s action against Mr Tinkler on ice.

Mr Tinkler has also recently settled lawsuits brought by the Tax Office and his former corporate adviser BKK Partners.

And he has moved to sell many of his Australian assets, including 466 horses, reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars, from his stud thoroughbred operation Patinack Farm and his $5.2 million country retreat near Brisbane. Mr Tinkler put the horses – about half of Patinack Farm’s stock – on the market after failing to find a buyer willing to take the entire operation.

In March, under examination in the NSW Supreme Court, Mr Tinkler valued Patinack Farm at a minimum of $100 million, after debts were cleared. He told the court he had access to a family trust worth up to $1.4 billion – but only when given money by his wife, Rebecca.

His connection with Singapore began in March last year, when he set up Bentley Resources, and was strengthened three months later when he announced he was moving to the city state.

At the time, Mr Tinkler’s spokesman said the miner ”just wants to be closer to the markets, to Asia”, and he remained committed to his Australian business interests and his rugby league team, the Newcastle Knights.

Singapore’s top personal tax rate is 20 per cent, compared with a top marginal rate in Australia of 46.5 per cent, including the Medicare levy. In Singapore, companies are required to have a locally resident director, a role that at Bentley Resources was filled by an accountant at Tricor Group, Lee Wei Hsung. Mr Lee also owned the single share issued by Bentley Resources.

However, company documents show Mr Tinkler’s immigration status changed some time before July 17 last year, when the Singaporean government issued him with a Foreign Identification Number. The number starts with the letter G, indicating Mr Tinkler was granted employment rights.

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