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Clive Palmer warned after reportedly buying Adolf Hitler’s Mercedes

Controversial billionaire Clive Palmer has been warned he could face the full force of the law if his alleged attempt to import Adolf Hitler’s car breaches Australian customs and sanctions rules.

The Courier Mail has reported that the senate hopeful and leader of the United Australia Party purchased the 1939 770 Grosser Offener Tourenwagen Mercedes-Benz from an unnamed Russian billionaire.

Mr Palmer is believed to have bought the Nazi leader’s bulletproof “Super Mercedes” as part of his plans to build a rare car museum.

The mining magnate and one-term Fairfax MP, who is eyeing a return to politics at the upcoming federal election, was taken to hospital last week after displaying “Covid-like” symptoms.

Mr Palmer has been criticised for the alleged purchase.
Camera IconMr Palmer has been criticised for the alleged purchase. Credit: The Courier-Mail, File

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has called on Mr Palmer to explain his actions, saying he would have to fully comply with Australian sanctions, import and customs laws if the allegations were true.

“If an individual contravenes our sanctions regime there will be serious consequences under Australian law. The bottom line is: No one gets a special deal and the rules apply to all,” she said.

Ms Andrews said she could understand why people might find Mr Palmer’s alleged purchase offensive.

“The government absolutely condemns any glorification of Nazi history and neo-Nazi extremist activity in Australia,” she said.

After the end of World War II, the Mercedes was seized in France by the US military before it was purchased by an American billionaire. It has changed hands multiple times in the subsequent decades.

KAREN ANDREWS PRESSER
Camera IconHome Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has called on the controversial billionaire to explain himself. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

West Australian Labor MP Patrick Gorman wrote to Ms Andrews on Monday, asking that the federal government urgently investigate Mr Palmer’s alleged purchase, including whether it breached sanctions by involving a Russian billionaire.

“Many of my constituents are concerned with this purchase and the message it sends. I believe that it is inappropriate for Mr Palmer to personally own such an item,” he wrote.

“I seek an assurance from you as minister that Mr Palmer has not breached Australia’s customs and sanctions requirements.”

While it isn’t illegal to import a historic vehicle into Australia for a personal collection, classic cars regularly arrive at the border with parts containing asbestos – a toxic material that is banned from entering the country.

It is the responsibility of importers and exporters to ensure they do not import or export prohibited goods such as asbestos, a Tier 1 good under the Customs Regulation 2015.

Offences relating to asbestos importation by individuals can attract fines of up to $180,000 or three times the value of the goods, whichever is the greater.

Mr Palmer has been contacted for comment.

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