Anthony William Clough has pleaded guilty over dodgy coal mine deal

FRAUD: Anthony Clough celebrating the 2007 Melbourne Cup at Newcastle Paceway. Picture: Kitty Hill

FRAUD: Anthony Clough celebrating the 2007 Melbourne Cup at Newcastle Paceway. Picture: Kitty Hill

A NEWCASTLE man who used fraudulent documents to try to get a major private equity firm to invest millions into a coal mine that wasn’t approved for exploration is also awaiting sentence in Queensland on other fraud matters, according to court documents. 

For the best part of the last 10 years, Anthony William Clough, 47, has avoided being punished for his crimes by moving back and forth between NSW and Queensland. 

Clough, who remains on strict conditional bail, which includes a requirement that he wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, was due to face a trial in Newcastle District Court this week. 

But on the eve of the trial, Clough pleaded guilty to a charge of using a false instrument with intent greater than $15,000, while a number of other offences will be taken into account when he is sentenced in June next year. 

The offences occurred in early 2008, when Clough formed the company Atlas Coal Enterprises Pty Ltd. 

According to an agreed statement of facts, Clough lodged a number of coal exploration permit applications with the Queensland Department of Mines and Energy (DME) for a parcel of land in the Bowen Basin in central Queensland. 

But while the applications were still under consideration, Clough gave a presentation to private equity firm The Sentient Group in Sydney, asking for the company to invest in the project. 

Clough sought a staged investment over a number of years, starting at $10 million and reaching $390 million, according to the agreed statement of facts. 

But before any money could change hands, discrepancies in the documentation Clough provided were discovered and the matter was referred to police. 

But Clough had left for Queensland where in 2011 Newland Resources made a complaint that he had stolen more than $190,000 from them while he was employed as managing director.  

The matter dragged through the courts for years, until Clough failed to appear at his sentencing in February last year. He had come back to NSW, where he was arrested and charged with the 2008 coal mine fraud matters.