Five years ago, Newcastle electrician-turned-mining magnate Nathan Tinkler was Australia’s youngest billionaire.
This week, he marked his 40th birthday by being declared bankrupt after GE Commercial took him to court over a $2.8 million disputed debt following the sale of his personal jet.
A sequestration order was issued against Tinkler on February 9, and the former racehorse and football team owner had 21 days to appeal, but chose not to.
“I would like to apologise to the creditors and my family,” he told Fairfax Media today.
“I’m not a criminal, I am allowed to get out and earn a living for my family.”
As a bankrupt, Tinkler is banned from being a company director and thus resigned as a director of Australian Pacific Coal, which is seeking to buy a disused Dartbrook coal mine near Aberdeen in the Hunter Valley.
His insolvency is not good news for creditors owed $250 million, including retail billionaire Gerry Harvey, left $9.5 million out of pocket, with the bulk of the debt, $US165 million, owed to Credit Suisse, which has security over some assets in Queensland and New South Wales.
Tinkler was just 32 when he made the BRW Rich 200 worth nearly half a billion dollars. He was dubbed the “bogannaire” and at one stage owned both the Newcastle Knights rugby league team and Newcastle Jets soccer club, as well as a Hunter Valley racehorse breeding business, Patinack Farm.