Advisors face fines for aiding foreigners to break investment laws

On 1 December 2015, the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 to amend the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (FATA) came into force.

The new foreign investment regime requires investors to notify the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) where a transaction is a ‘notifiable action’. Failing to do so will be an offence under the Act.

For the very first time, third parties such as real estate agents, migration agents, conveyancers and lawyers who knowingly assist a foreign investor to breach the rules will also now be subject to both civil and criminal penalties,” said Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer when introducing the Bill to Parliament.

The existing criminal penalties will be increased from $90,000 to $135,000 for individuals and from $450,000 to $675,000 for companies. These will be supplemented by civil pecuniary penalties and infringement notices for less serious breaches of the residential real estate rules.

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