Treasurer Joe Hockey is forcing one of China’s richest men to sell the Sydney harbourside mansion he’s believed to have bought late last year for $39 million because the foreign-owned company that bought it failed to notify the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) of the intended purchase.
It’s the first time a treasurer has acted in such a fashion in eight years and comes a week after the Treasurer announced tougher rules and increased charges for foreign buyers of Australian real estate.
The minister says the 1500 square metre property was bought illegally in November 2014 by Golden Fast Foods, which is ultimately owned by Evergrande Real Estate Group, a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed company, via a string of shelf companies including in Australia, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.
Chinese property developer Xu Jiayin, who is believed to be worth more than $7 billion and among China’s top 20 richest people, is the founder and CEO of Evergrande.
Hockey announced his decision today under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act. Under the law non-resident foreign nationals cannot buy established dwellings as homes or investments and all foreigners require approval to buy residential real estate.
Golden Fast Foods now has 90 days to dispose of the property at 63-67 Wolseley Road, Point Piper, or the matter may be referred to the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.
“We welcome all foreign investment that is not contrary to our national interest,” the Treasurer said.
A number of homes along the exclusive eastern suburbs street sold for in excess of $30 million last year.
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