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Australian coal baron quits CEO job after being declared bankrupt

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Former Australian coal baron Nathan Tinkler on Wednesday resigned as chief executive of Anglo Pacific Coal Ltd after losing a legal battle over money he owed from the sale of a luxury jet and being declared bankrupt.

[SYDNEY] Former Australian coal baron Nathan Tinkler on Wednesday resigned as chief executive of Anglo Pacific Coal Ltd after losing a legal battle over money he owed from the sale of a luxury jet and being declared bankrupt.

Tinkler - who rode the mining boom to become Australia's youngest billionaire before losing it all when coal prices collapsed - in October was appointed chief executive of Australian Pacific Coal, which has agreed to acquire the majority of a coal mine from Anglo American.

The bankruptcy was declared in Australia's Federal Court on Tuesday and stems from a complaint from GE Commercial Australasia Pty, which claimed he owed US$2.25 million on a Dassault Falcon 900C he once owned.

Mr Tinkler, who resides in Singapore, was not immediately available for comment and it was unclear if he would appeal the ruling. Under Australian law, bankrupt individuals are barred from holding corporate directorships.

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The bankruptcy order had been stayed for 21 days.

A statement from Anglo Pacific Coal announcing the resignation, also said Mr Tinkler would continue to act as a technical advisor to the company and that the deal with Anglo American was not affected by the bankruptcy ruling.

The one-time electrician who was ranked as Australia's 26th-richest person by Forbes in 2012, made an initial attempt at a comeback two years ago. But a deal to buy a mine from Peabody Energy fell through when he failed to make a A$70 million (S$68.8 million) closing payment.

As coal prices plummeted, Mr Tinkler was forced to sell an array of assets purchased with the proceeds from his coal businesses, including a beloved thoroughbred horse farm and a professional soccer club to repay debts.

Under the judgment, the bankruptcy is retroactive to July 16, 2015, the date of the original claim by GE Commercial.

REUTERS

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