The $39 million Sydney mansion that Treasurer Joe Hockey forced one of China’s richest men to sell has been bought by an Australian citizen.
Earlier in the year Golden Fast Foods failed to notify the Foreign Investment Review Board upon the purchase of Villa del Mare, in Point Piper, and was ordered to sell the property.
Golden Fast Foods is owned by Evergrande Real Estate Group, a Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed company founded by Chinese property developer Xu Jiayin, who is worth more than $7 billion and among China’s 20 richest people.
Under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act non-resident foreign nationals cannot buy established dwellings as homes or investments and all foreigners require approval to buy residential real estate.
This week Hockey confirmed the sale, telling Reuters it had been “resold to an Australian citizen”.
He declined to name the new owner.
Yesterday Hockey and Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced there would be tougher penalties – including jail time – for those who broke foreign investment laws in Australia.
Under the new penalties people found guilty of breaching foreign investment rules will face increased fines of $127,500 or three years imprisonment and up to $637,000 for companies.
The crackdown is another sign that regulators are serious about taking unnecessary heat off the Australian property market.