ICAC: Nathan Tinkler, Troy Palmer, silent

SOURCE: Newcastle Herald 

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ON the eve of their much anticipated appearance at the Independent Commission Against Corruption former billionaire Nathan Tinkler and his right-hand man Troy Palmer have moved to distance themselves from controversial Newcastle developer Buildev Group.

After more than five years as a director with the developer, Newcastle Jets owner Mr Tinkler resigned on Wednesday, but continues to hold his financial interest in the group. Mr Tinkler first bought into Buildev in 2008 and is the company’s largest individual shareholder.

Hunter Sports Group chief executive Mr Palmer resigned as secretary of Buildev and its construction arm Bolkm the same day.

Both men declined yesterday to comment about the move, but it comes just days before they will be called before the ICAC’s political fund-raising scandal inquiry.

Buildev co-founder Darren Williams, who is due to give evidence at the  ICAC inquiry today, is now the sole director and secretary of both Buildev and Bolkm. 

In a statement to the inquiry made public yesterday, former Newcastle Labor MP Jodi McKay said she had been informed Mr Williams was seen meeting with disgraced former Labor minister and powerbroker Joe Tripodi in Newcastle this year.

Mr Tripodi and the Tinkler Group were implicated yesterday at the inquiry in a smear campaign to discredit Ms McKay in the lead-up to the last state election.

Earlier this month Bolkm general manager Jon Mead, who started with the company in 2004, resigned.

Mr Mead and his Newcastle solicitor wife Emma Mead bought a 20per cent share of the construction company in 2004 for $100,000 through their business Jemcon.

According to documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Jemcon sold its interest in Bolkm on April 17 back to Buildev Group for $1.

Mr Mead is no longer a shareholder in Jemcon and ceased to be a director this week. He was unable to be contacted by the Newcastle Herald yesterday.

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