Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra. Photo: Lukas Coch.

Come forward, Hockey tells foreign buyers

Almost 200 cases of dodgy foreign buyers of Australian houses have been uncovered, some by neighbours dobbing in people suspected of hiding their home’s ownership.

Other foreign buyers have dobbed themselves in during a federal government crackdown.

Under tighter new rules to come to effect in December, foreign buyers and those who facilitate illegal property sales face new penalties including fines of more than $100,000 or up to three years’ jail.

So far the Foreign Investment Review Board is investigating 195 cases, Treasurer Joe Hockey says.

Of these, 40 were found thanks to community tip-offs and another 24 buyers voluntarily came forward.

The rest were discovered through an audit by the tax office.

A UK national could be the second to undergo a forced divestment after self-reporting his $700,000 West Australian property purchase.

It follows the forced sale of the $39 million Sydney mansion Villa de Mare illegally bought by a Chinese-controlled company.

Mr Hockey warned dodgy foreign buyers they were on the government’s radar.

“Foreign investors who think they may have broken the rules should come to us before we come to them,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

 

Source AAP

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