The trustee forced to hand back Nathan Tinkler’s passport so the bankrupt former mining magnate can travel to United States has worried that Tinkler could “do a Christopher Skase”.
Mr Tinkler on Friday won a court bid to fly to Hawaii to see the four children he had with his ex-wife and sit a job interview in New York.
As part of the travel conditions imposed by the Federal Court, Mr Tinkler must return to Australia by April 8 and keep his bankruptcy trustee, John Melluish, updated on his whereabouts.
There were concerns Mr Tinkler had not paid the trustee anything as a former employee of his father’s company, Oceltip Coal 2, as at November 2016.
The trustee had also been concerned the former billionaire would flee the country.
Mr Melluish said on Friday it was a partial concern based on information that Mr Tinkler was to take his fiancee and two children in Coffs Harbour with him to the US.
Asked about any similarity to the case of Christopher Skase, who fled to Spain with his wife after the collapse of his companies in 1989, the trustee said: “The Skase issue weighs on your mind”.
“You don’t want to be the trustee that gave him his passport back and he didn’t return,” Mr Melluish said.
Justice John Nicholas in Friday’s judgment did not accept that Mr Tinkler would fail to return to Australia, arguing the consequences would be “very serious indeed”.
“A failure on the part of the applicant to return to Australia … would almost certainly result in the issue of a warrant for his arrest,” Justice Nicholas said.
According to a report to creditors in December, Mr Tinkler has about 15 creditors claiming a total of about $554 million, including about $11 million owed to his ex-wife.
“I accept that the applicant genuinely desires to visit his children in Hawaii and that he also genuinely wishes to explore employment opportunities in the USA,” Justice Nicholas said.
The judge said creditors could benefit if Mr Tinkler actually landed the US job but added it would of course be up to the trustee to grant him permission to take up any post overseas if he was successful.
Mr Melluish was hopeful of Mr Tinkler gaining employment and making contributions back to creditors.
A bid to make Mr Tinkler liable to pay $500,000 if he failed to return was quashed on Friday.
The embattled former tycoon tried several times last year to travel overseas to no avail.
In May he tried to visit London and Honolulu for job and family opportunities and in August he was prevented from going to a mining conference in Nevada.