Company receives $140k fine for not declaring overseas investor

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An Auckland company that didn’t declare an overseas investor has been ordered to pay $140,000 in fines and legal fees.

18072016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Wellington High Court.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The High Court has ruled West Drury Holding Limited broke overseas investment rules when it bought a $9.2 million property south of Auckland in 2017.

The property was on sensitive land, meaning it needed approval from the Overseas Investment Office – an arm of Land Information New Zealand.

At the time of the purchase, a person who owned 39 percent of the company’s shares was in New Zealand on a residence visa and did not intend to live in New Zealand permanently.

LINZ says that makes them an “overseas person” and West Drury Holding should have sought special consent to buy the property.

It noted the company had benefited over the past four years from owning it.

Overseas Investment Office Group Manager Anna Wilson-Farrell said overseas investors should get special legal advice on the Overseas Investment Act.

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“When we discover that someone has broken the rules, we take appropriate enforcement action,” she said.

The High Court has ordered the company to pay a $125,000 fine and $15,000 in legal fees.

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