Property deposit funds allegedly misappropriated ahead of Ausin China collapse

Property deposit funds allegedly misappropriated ahead of Ausin China collapse
Property deposit funds allegedly misappropriated ahead of Ausin China collapse

Residential project marketer Ausin China has collapsed leaving a trail of 100s of failed property settlements in Australia.

Ausin China sold off-the-plan apartments and houses to buyers in China, with an investigation now underway into the whereabouts of the deposits along with settlement monies.

Jin Tianyou, aka Harry Jin, who was in charge of running the Ausin China offices, is allegedly being sought by authorities.

Video of hostile graffiti painted on the lobby walls of its Shenzhen office on Wednesday (below) have been circulated on WeChat, alleging "Ausin money launderer" and "black intermediary."

Property deposit funds allegedly misappropriated ahead of Ausin China collapse

The confirmation of the official investigation came after Chinese speculation that "the funding chain has broken." An August 15 letter to staff and others affected suggested "seven solutions" after the so-called "rogue" behaviour.

Staff were told "because the company faces serious financial difficulties, the salary of the colleagues in July needs to be delayed."

Ausin Australia, led by founder and chief executive Joseph Zaja, indicated on Friday there was evidence of fraud and the matter has been reported to the Australian police.

Zaja has cancelled licensing agreements with Jin.

"We have zero tolerance for any misappropriation of funds or corrupt behaviour," Zaja said.

Zaja confirmed that around 8000 properties have been sold during the near decade long agreement with Shenzhen Ausin Investment Consulting Co. Ltd., which was licensed to use the Ausin brand in China.

Jin ran all the China offices under a marketing and client referral agency agreement with Ausin Group.

Ausin's China business was a separate entity to Ausin Australia. Jin resigned his Australian directorship earlier this year. The Australian Financial Review says Jin is still registered as a shareholder.

Property deposit funds allegedly misappropriated ahead of Ausin China collapse

A Chinese website has reported the relationship between the Australian headquarters and China outfit had "become tense" from 2015 in regard to a "truncation" of commission flow.

Ausin Australia has advised that Ausin China was "expressly prohibited from the collection of any funds", although allegations have surfaced that deposit funds were paid directly to Mr Jin.

The most recent appearance of Jin was in April at a press conference in China.

In attendance were representatives from some of the biggest media channels in China, including Tencent and Sina Weibo.

The event was marked by a speech from Harry Jin, managing director of Ausin China.

It has been advised the collapse leaves a trail of 130 failed settlements of houses and apartments in Australia across 15 projects in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

There have also been reports in China of "disguised exchanges."

"There will be some initial concerns from Chinese buyers because Ausin is the biggest known Australian apartment agent in China," project marketer CLG Group Real Estate managing director and former McGrath Asian business development manager Allen Yan said when asked about the likely fallout.

"A lot of people believed them and trusted them.

"The collapse will hurt their confidence, but only in Ausin as an agent," Yan told the AFR.

House and land projects reportedly among the projects where settlements have been lost have been suggested as Elpis by developer EIG, Williams Landing by Cedar Woods, and Willow QM Properties in south-east Queensland region.

The Australian-based Apartmentdevelopments website proclaims Ausin Group as one of the leading partners for major Australian developers for project sales and marketing into China and Australia.

It suggests Ausin was "the first choice business for mainland Chinese sales" for listed companies including Mirvac, Stockland, Leighton Properties, Cedar Woods, SP Setia and Lend Lease.

Ausin's other developer relationships were listed as including Sunland, Metro Properties, Rose Group, Crown, Glenvill, Satterley, Little Projects and Intrapac.

In 2015 Property Observer reported Ausin Group had opened two new offices in China to cash in on the growing demand from China buyers for new Australian properties.

The offices in Dalian and Chengdu took its total number to 15 offices in China.

At the time it was noted Ausin employed over 500 staff working across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Auckland and London.

The group also offers accounting, property management and migration visa services.

Uglobal Immigration Magazine recently recognized the global investment migration industry’s most influential and powerful leaders with the distinguished Top 100 Global Migration Agency CEOs Awards including Ausin 澳信, Shenzhen, China, and its CEO, Yanqin Zhu.

 

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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