• Wed
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 8:55pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 4:38am

Clive Palmer in expletive-laden rant at Citic Pacific executive


Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.

Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer is not known for being the most patient of souls. The Australian has published the transcript of a recording of what it describes as an "angry expletive-laden tirade of abuse," by Palmer directed against Citic Pacific executives, together with an audio tape on its website. The voicemail, the newspaper says, was left with a Citic executive in 2010.

Citic Pacific, the state-owned mainland company, has bought the rights to mine iron ore on Palmer's site in Western Australia in return for royalty payments. The project has become a nightmare for Citic with delays and huge cost overruns. The original budget of US$2.5 billion has soared to US$8 billion and could reach US$10 billion. In addition, relations between the two parties have been strained by a number of lawsuits which relate to royalty payments.

In one of the rants, Palmer allegedly says: "We are not changing the royalty rate … Tell your chairman to stick it up his a**e". He continues: "I am chairman of this f***ing company, I don't want to ring up little s***s like you because you won't pay your bloody, your bloody rates or pay your rent. I've had enough of you so just pack up all your f***ing gear and get back to China."

In quieter moments Palmer describes himself as a lifelong friend of China with deep and respectful relationships. On occasion he offers advice to Australians in their business dealings with the mainland. He has called on politicians "to be fair and treat the Chinese people and Chinese government with the dignity they deserve."

Yesterday, Palmer said: "There is no source in these reports … it seems journalism has slipped a bit in Australia and a long way in The Australian."


Jefferies to pay HK$14.4 million

Grant Williams, the former Asia head of equity trading with investment bank Jefferies Hong Kong, on Monday was awarded about HK$14.4 million after winning his case for wrongful dismissal. Deputy High Court Judge Conrad Seagroatt ruled last month that Williams should not have been blamed for the December 7, 2010, newsletter that included a link to a YouTube video clip depicting Adolf Hitler, with subtitles that mocked JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon.

Williams had prepared the newsletter, and because he was travelling had asked someone else to handle it through the careful vetting process that had been set up for the newsletter to avoid inappropriate content. Instead, somebody pressed the wrong button and it was sent to clients, to the horror of Jefferies executives who summarily dismissed Williams the next day for "gross misconduct". Jefferies' reaction according to Seagroatt was, "verging on the absurd", and "palpably unfair", "hypersensitive" and "irrational". Seagroatt felt Jefferies' executives had panicked given the company's close relationship with JP Morgan and as a result had left Williams "high and dry".

Jefferies said it will consider appealing against Monday's court order. "Jefferies is exploring all avenues of appeal to avoid an unjust result," said a spokesman for the New York-based investment bank, according to Bloomberg.


Well appointed at HSBC

HSBC has announced a number of senior appointments. These include Simon Cooper becoming group managing director and chief executive of global commercial banking, based in London. Alan Keir has been elevated to chief executive of HSBC Bank, and will also be based in London. He takes over from Brian Robertson, who is retiring as group managing director and chief executive of HSBC Bank. Robertson will, however, become chairman of HSBC Latin America and a director of HSBC North America Holdings. In addition, he will continue in what must be several of HSBC's less onerous posts as a director of HSBC Malta and chairman of HSBC Turkey.


Parking millions

Those that take an interest in parking and its corollary - illegal parking - might be interested in the revenue that London borough councils succeed in extracting from motorists. Just five of London's 32 boroughs raised an eye-watering total of £125 million (HK$1.44 billion) from parking charges and fines last year. Just think what Hong Kong could achieve if it showed any interest in cracking down on illegal parking.


Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com


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This article is now closed to comments

How refreshing to read Clive Palmer's analysis. There may be Socialism with Chinese characteristics but there's no chance of Capitalism with Chinese characteristics as long as there are business people like Palmer that tells them to shove it and honour contractual obligations. I will sleep content this evening.
Like countless other business people before him, Clive Palmer has obviously discovered that doing business with China is not the great opportunity it first seems.
We are blessed to live in a community whose culture eschews confrontation, hence the reluctance to enforce illegal parking regulations. Hong Kong is not England, ground zero of yobbish confrontational behaviour. If you don't like how things are done here, please feel to book a one-way ticket back to miserable Ol' Blighty. Your condescending neo-colonial attitude will not be missed.
John Adams
Read yesterday's Laisee ! Parking regulations were enforced very strictly last Sunday at Big Wave Bay car park on normal Chinese family families enjoying a simple day at the beach. So why should the same regulations not be enforced equally strictly on tycoons shopping or eating in Central ?
Are you a tycoon ?
John Adams
If just five London boroughs can extract HK$1.44 BILLION in one year from illegal parking fines, think what our police could do to alleviate the conditions of our poor and factory-housed people at the expense of the rich if the fines are donated to the Community Fund.
It riles me that I pay over $4,000 per month for a permanent parking space in a central business district for my 2nd hand Honda, whereas Rolls, Lamborghinis and most of all tycoon people-mover-Aplharts park free of charge alongside road sides with impunity.
Are these tycoons so "cheap' that they cannot afford to park their cars in a public carpark while waiting ?
Something is fundamentally wrong at the very core of our police enforcement policy on day-to-day traffic matters.
I call it closet-collusion at best . I call it blatant corruption at worst.
Fine the poor OK ( e.g. a taxi driver who lets off a passenger on a double yellow line - or me in my Honda)
But never NEVER fine the rich who blatantly park for hours on double yellow lines (just move them on) .
John Adams
Re the Jefferies story , go to youtube and search "Crash JP Morgan Buy Silver - Max Keiser vs. Jamie Dimon"
This is one of many dubs on a classic hitler rant from the famous 2004 film "Downfall" about hitler's last days in the Berlin bunker.
(The best dub of all was a take-off of the classic 1963 sketch "Dinner for One" , re-titled in the hitler dub version as "Downfall for one / Dinner for One" on youtube.
Advice : first watch the original "Dinner for One" in the full 17 minute black-and-white version : Freddie Frinton and May Warden, otherwise you will not understand the nuances in the hitler rant dub ! )
PS: This is perhaps not the appropriate place for such a comment because Laisee sensibly steers off such sensitive international political matters , but I can already see the next hitler rant dub version in the making. It will be an Obama rant when Snowden has finally escaped Moscow to arrive in Latin America. There is already on youtube a dub hitler rant version mocking the failure of the authorities to capture Julian Assange. We live in interesting times.


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