“ALL THAT FIRB HAVE TO DO IS TO REVERT TO THE RULES IN FORCE IN 2007/8”
Below is a letter we received from Arnold who preferred to remain anonymous.
We bought our property in Richmond in early 2008. I am a British citizen married to a born-and-bred Australian. We bought the house jointly and without finance. At that time, because we were resident overseas, the Foreign Investment Review Board required me to provide my British passport, our marriage certificate, my wife’s passport and birth certificate, and proof of finance before we were allowed to purchase the property
Although I didn’t require finance I had to provide a statement from a recognised institution proving I had the money and a statement of how I obtained that money. This information was given to our solicitor prior to settlement.
Every financial institution I have worked for takes money laundering seriously, indeed, all the courses I have ever attended cites property as the prime instrument to hide ‘dirty money’.
In order to stop Australia being sold to foreign nationals without any connection to Australia all the FIRB have to do is revert to the rules in force in 2007/8 and make them jump through the hoops we were forced to. Clearly, the FIRB are taking a ‘hands-off’ approach, is the FIRB simply window-dressing? Are we now in a situation where the FIRB are not doing any checks? Are ‘kick-backs’ being exchanged for money laundering services at the highest level?
The way forward is to put the onus once again on the buyer’s solicitor to provide a signed check-list to the FIRB. We are the perfect example of how the system was, and could be again, administered.
Please feel free to publish this letter as you see fit.