Point Piper's Villa del Mare back for sale as Australian Treasurer thwarts Chinese billionaire

Point Piper's Villa del Mare back for sale as Australian Treasurer thwarts Chinese billionaire
Point Piper's Villa del Mare back for sale as Australian Treasurer thwarts Chinese billionaire

The lacklustre Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has announced the forced sale of the $39 million Point Piper trophy home, Villa del Mare.

Its purchase last October was in contravention to Australia's foreign ownership laws for established housing.

The sale has been deemed an illegal purchase because Golden Fast Foods Pty Ltd was a shelf company for the Hong Kong-based Evergrande Real Estate Group.

It is the first divestment order - and huge scalp - in almost a decade, timed exquisitely with the Abbott Government's established residential foreign investment purchasing crackdown.

The ownership trail in the bullish sale by recruitment queen Julia Ross was first detailed by Property Observer last November, but the government decision was announced today, four months later, in timing with the government's latest endevours to correct its political misfortune.

"Today I have made an order under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the Act) for Golden Fast Foods Pty Ltd (Golden Fast Foods), to divest the established residential property at 63-67 Wolseley Road, Point Piper, in Sydney," Joe Hockey said.

The Treasurer said the property was bought illegally by Golden Fast Foods, which is ultimately owned by Evergrande Real Estate Group, a large company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, via a string of shelf companies including in Australia, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.

"Under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act (1975) foreign investors must notify the Treasurer through the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before purchasing residential real estate.

"Golden Fast Foods is a foreign-owned company which failed to notify FIRB of its intended purchase.

"Under Australia’s foreign investment policy, foreign investment should increase Australia’s housing stock. Non-resident foreign nationals cannot buy established dwellings as homes or investments.

"I made this order following advice from the Australian Government Solicitor that the purchase breached the Act. Under the Divestment Order I have issued today, the company now has 90 days to dispose of the property 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 government last month proposed that illegal purchases by foreigners would potentially result in a civil penalty of as much as 25 percent of the value of the property when they are forced to sell it.

 

Joseph Zaja, managing director of Ausin Group which sells property to Asian buyers, suggests the public’s perception about foreign buyers pricing them out of the market was impacting on the government.

"It is an extraordinary measure to use a sale of this magnitude to set an example for the industry,” he said adding enforcing FIRB rules was long overdue. 

Property Observer's initial exposure noted Golden Fast Foods was directed by two Chinese directors Han Xiaoran and Huang Xiangui, both from Guangzhou.

Huang Xiangui is also an executive director at Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd, whose billionaire owner Xu Jiayin, (許家印 also known as Hui Ka Yan) is estimated by Forbes to be worth about $7 billion. 

Property Observer gleaned also from sky tracking websites that Xu Jaiyin, aged 56, was in Australia around the time of the early October sale, having arrived with a team of 25 in his private Airbus A319.

 

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