Businessman Clive Palmer has withdrawn counterclaims seeking $1.8 billion in damages from liquidators of Queensland Nickel, who are seeking to recover hundreds of millions of dollars over the closure of the Townsville refinery.
The claim against FTI Consulting managing director John Park and special purpose liquidator Stephen Parbery was brought in April over lost value allegedly caused to Mr Palmer and his companies as a result of the long-running legal dispute.
At the time, Mr Palmer said the liquidators had caused nearly $2 billion in lost value when they closed the refinery at Yabulu in 2016.
“We’re now ensuring the individual liquidators will pay for it and the true story will come out,” he said in April.
Mr Palmer described the appointment of QNI liquidators as a “politically motivated witch-hunt”.
QNI collapsed in 2016 with $300 million in debts, putting more than 800 people out of work.
Mr Palmer, his nephew Clive Mensink and 19 other people are being sued for about $500 million by liquidators PPB Advisory, who were appointed by the Federal Government.
In a statement, the special purpose liquidators said Mr Palmer’s claims “should never have been filed” to the Supreme Court because they “failed to have a proper basis”.
“The [special purpose liquidators] are committed to ensuring the claims QNI has issued in the Supreme Court are heard on 29 April, 2019 as currently timetabled and without further delay,” they said.
The trial between Mr Palmer and the liquidators is expected to start in April next year, although Mr Palmer’s lawyers have applied to have it cancelled.
Last month Mr Palmer succeeded in his bid to have a Supreme Court judge recused from the case, after claiming he was biased.
Justice John Bond said claims of bias against him were “baseless”, but decided to step down from the case “in order to ensure that justice be seen to be done”.
Mr Palmer has committed to re-opening the refinery if he gets financial support from the State Government — something Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ruled out.