"In the shrinking globe there are fewer places you can hide.” This was the warning Andratx-based tycoon Christopher Skase was given last night by the Australian government. He is wanted in Australia in connection with the collapse of his billion dollar leisure and media empire in the late 1980s. The Australian government said that Skase has a very slim chance of being able to appeal against last week's decision by the Spanish government to expel him because he does not have a Spanish residence permit. Government sources in Madrid confirmed that Skase, who has at least a week to lodge an appeal against the expulsion order with the Constitutional High Court in Madrid, has as yet failed to make an appeal. But even should he decide to appeal the ruling by the Palma High Court, the Constitutional High Court only hears five percent of all appeals. Australian Minister for Justice, Senator Vanstone said “advice received by the (Australian) government is that the likelihood of the Constitutional Court agreeing to hear such an appeal is low.” Spanish government sources, also said last week, that, irrespective of appeals being lodged in Madrid or with the Court of Human Rights in Brussels, they are not considered as obstacles blocking Skase's expulsion. The Australian government lost a bid to extradite Skase from Majorca in 1993 to have him answer 32 Australian Securities and Investment Commission charges relating to the AUS$1.5 billion collapse of his Qintex empire. But now the Australian government appears up-beat. Although Vanstone knows that Skase will not be directly returning to Australia, she is still hopeful that the Spanish government's expulsion of Skase is a means to an end. The Senator compared getting Skase back to Australia to face trial with “climbing a particularly large mountain and you have to take it step by step and acknowledge that it's going to be a long haul.” But Vanstone said “he must be very, very nervous.” It would also appear that Skase is very, very sick.

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