Riches to Rags? Aussie Billionaire Nathan Tinkler Loses Private Jet, Helicopter Due to Collapse of Companies Over Unpaid Debts

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By Vittorio Hernandez | December 5, 2012 10:08 AM EST

Australian air passengers may soon find themselves on the same flight as mining billionaire Nathan Tinkler. The reason is that Mr Tinkler, who owns several companies, lost his $15-million private plane and corporate helicopter because of the collapse of a company he owns due to unpaid debts.

TGHA Aviation failed to meet its unpaid debts, prompting GE Commercial Australia to appoint on Tuesday Taylor Woodings as the receiver of the failed company. As such, Mr Woodings now has control over Mr Tinkler's Dassault Falcon 900C jet and Agusta A109S helicopter.

The plane is in Singapore and the helicopter in Brisbane and under the control of the receiver.

In November, Mulsanne Resources, owned by Mr Tinkler, did not meet its $28.4 million payment to Blackwood, a junior coal miner, as payment for one-third stake in the small miner. Last week, Palinack Farm Administration, a part of Mr Tinkler's over $200 million horse racing enterprise, was also placed in liquidation due to unpaid taxes, salaries and worker entitlements that ran into millions of dollars.

Robyn Duggan and John Melluish of Ferrier Hodgson were appointed as liquidators of Mulsanne Resources.

Mr Tinkler's riches are mainly linked to his 19.4 per cent holding in Whitehaven Coal, which speculations say were mainly purchased with debt.

To address his financial problems, the Australian Financial Review reported that Mr Tinkler is allegedly planning to sell a commercial property asset in Brisbane, particularly a three-storey office building at 366 Queen Street which be bought for $7.7 million in February 2011. It is on a 379-square-metre block and has 1,200 sqm of office space.

Before he became a billionaire, the 36-year-old Mr Tinkler was an electrician at Muswellbrook TAFE. He topped the BRW's Young Rich list in 2008 with a personal fortune of $441 million and was the second-richest man in Australia under 40 years old.

To indicate how fast has the wealth of the Newcastle Jets and Newcastle Knights have shrunk, his personal wealth was estimated to have gone down from $1.18 billion in April 2012 to $630 million in September, which is an amount definitely far from the poorhouse.

Australia's billionaires are apparently on a losing streak. Besides Mr Tinkler, Gina Rinehart, Australia's richest woman, also recently lost in a lawsuit over control of a mining company co-owned by her late father, Lang Hancock, and his business partners.

On top of the business lawsuit, Ms Rinehart is also battling her three estranged adult children over control of a trust set up by the family patriarch for his grandchildren. The family court feud is still ongoing.

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