What lies behind the Real Scandal in the Pandora Papers?

ALAN KOHLER writes in ‘The Real Scandal in the Pandora Papers’

‘The most disturbing part of the Four Corners program this week about the PANDORA PAPERS leak was the statement by Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson that lobbying and donations by lawyers, accountants and real estate agents have successfully blocked any action on money laundering in Australia.

CAAN:  Sadly this is true!

HOW did this ‘Pushback’ happen?  Lobbying by the Real Estate Institute and the Law Council!   

It appears the gatekeepers dodged the responsibility by passing the buck when then President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia, Adrian Kelly said that others should also bear the regulatory burden.

“We are working with government on an approach that minimises the impact on agents because much of the information can be sought from others involved in the transaction process, including the banks and their conveying process,” he said.

When it was unlikely that funds were being transferred through the Australian Banking system, but rather through black cash, shadow banking and wire transfer of the money to an offshore bank account in a tax haven to be laundered in Casinos and Australian Real Estate!

Experts say tens of billions of dollars would have been moved from China to Australia by Chinese kleptocrats, as corrupt officials attempt to park their funds in a safe jurisdiction. 

President of the Law Council of Australia Arthur Moses, SC, said their profession was already extensively regulated by the states and territories under a comprehensive and robust regulatory system.

“The Law Council is concerned that imposing the full AML/CTF regulatory regime may create conflicts with the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality and the principle of client professional privilege, as well as increasing the cost of legal services to the community,” he said.

IS that credible?

WHY is it with the purchase of real estate there should be some difference compared to buying or selling a vehicle, why is it different?

Why is it difficult to apply laws to the purchase of real estate?

Why is that compromising a lawyer?  Why should real estate be any different to any other matter?

If there are laws governing real estate so be it.  It should not make any difference to a lawyer. If lawyers have a matter before them that involves a crime they have two choices:

-do it for their client knowing their risk

-not do it

IT was the Morrison Government that exempted the Real Estate Gatekeepers in October 2018!

Read more!

‘Real estate agents, lawyers and accountants to avoid money laundering laws’

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/real-estate-agents-lawyers-and-accountants-to-avoid-money-laundering-laws-20181008-h16dcd

IN fact the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Laws applicable to the Real Estate Gatekeepers (real estate agents, lawyers, and accountants ) was shelved back in 2006 … so it sat there until October 2018 when the Morrison Government exempted these gatekeepers from the AML Laws unlike the Banks!

Alan Kohler writes …. ‘ …. and both major parties apparently complying, is both sadly believable and shameful.’

The Federal Labor Party failed to implement and enforce the second tranche during its term from 2007 to 2013.  But nor did the Liberal Coalition implement the second tranche for the gatekeepers from 2013 to date 2021! 

In the lead-up to the 2019 Election in February 2019 Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen promised to make cross-border financial crime a pillar of Labor’s election campaign in wake of the Hayne royal commission, including pledging to reverse cuts to the Australian Federal Police and Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in response also flagged additional funding in the April 2 budget for the financial regulators including ASIC, and it is understood  they were to commit additional money and staff for the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.

Labor’s pledge came amid concerns over private-sector “bounty hunters” acting for China to recoup the proceeds of financial crime and corruption funnelled into Australia’s property market.

The Morrison government promised to pass new anti-money laundering laws in 2018, but they were yet to pass Parliament, granting lawyers, accountants and estate agents a reprieve.!!

Mr Bowen promised to go further, but the industry signalled a fight.

“The government has completely dropped the ball on money laundering reform. According to the government’s own work plan, real estate agents should already be covered by our money laundering laws. The Liberals have done nothing to progress this,” Mr Bowen said.

“The Liberals aren’t interested in prosecuting serious financial crime,” he said. “They cut funding to ASIC, they planned to cut funding to the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce and they ripped hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Australian Federal Police, who work with our partners abroad to disrupt transnational organised crime,” the shadow treasurer said.

Read more!

‘Labor to Target Lawyers Accountants Real Estate Agents’

https://www.afr.com/companies/labor-to-target-lawyers-accountants-real-estate-agents-20190224-h1bnd3

The Liberal party pursued a very dirty ‘Labor Taxes’ Campaign … AND here we are now!

With a property BOOOM that has locked out both First Home Buyers and Sellers!

Alan Kohler writes ‘Inaction on both sides’. 

Last December, the government put forward a minor amendment to the AMLTCF law and the Greens used it to put up a further amendment requiring that second tranche to be legislated by July 1 this year.

Both major parties voted against it.

PERHAPS Labor has another plan … because it was so open prior to the 2019 Election it is not now going to follow the same path … ?

In announcing Labor’s vote, Senator Kimberley Kitching said: “While we support the intent of the additional designated services proposed by the Greens, Labor does not believe this is the right way to achieve considered law reform. We are concerned about the unintended consequences of this amendment and want to make sure our counterterrorism financing laws make it harder, not easier, for money launderers or terrorist financiers.”

According to the Greens’ Treasury spokesman, Senator Nick McKim, “Australia is now one of only six countries in the world not to have included the gatekeepers within the scope of anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws”.

The others are the United States, China, Madagascar, Mauritius and Mongolia.

MANY of us question what benefits are there for us with a Foreign Investment Review Board running, it appears, contrary to our interests, with so much competition, and much of it hidden, for our Property (residential, commercial and agricultural)? 

The Morrison Government in exempting the Real Estate Gatekeepers from the AML Laws has allowed this competition to flourish locking out even more Australians from owning a home in their own country as the gatekeepers prosper even more.  With Agents working buyer against buyer, and some hidden, to bid up prices as Australian buyers are left to languish on the sidelines.

DESPITE there having been all too numerous reports on money raised in China through real estate and bank loan fraud …

And the AFP has alleged the proceeds of crime have been used to purchase or develop properties in Australia

The Paris based Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) found that Australian homes are a haven for laundered funds, particularly from China.

Transparency International ranked Australia as having the weakest anti-money laundering laws in the Anglosphere; failing all 10 priority areas.

The OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions claimed the entire ecosystem for the buying and selling property using cross-border fund flows is beyond the reach of Australian regulators!

Read more!

AFP Melbourne Tasmania Property alleged Chinese Money Laundering’

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-31/afp-melbourne-tasmania-property-alleged-chinese-money-laundering/11657344?pfmredir=sm

IS it any wonder that the evidence for residential buying is more sketchy? 

THE solution would be not only to implement and enforce the second tranche of the AML Laws, but to stop allowing foreign investment in Australian property!
To put a stop to onshore Proxy buyers

All these international organisations have raised concerns about the proceeds of crime driving up property prices, and pricing legitimate buyers out of the market yet the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Tax and Revenue, Jason Falinski, who is currently running an inquiry into housing affordability and supply, told Alan Kohler that he thinks that’s simply not true.

WHY?  Was Jason Falinski out of the room when the Morrison Government exempted the Real Estate Gatekeepers from the second tranche of the AML Laws in October 2018?

WHAT is possibly behind Falinski’s response?  Could it be something to do with …


‘The Big Ten Donors Property Developers Ratchet up their Spending on Politicians’

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/the-big-ten-donors-property-developers-ratchet-up-their-spending-on-politicians/?fbclid=IwAR3RgQkaY8z1xBNMWoitvJOlDyk2ZTb4-pJlMm35_7PgOmxzPLV-vzCtjwA

AND so with these big Ten Donors working both sides … and Labor severely hamstrung as are we!

Bill Shorten called for a stop to political donations … but of course that was overruled by the Liberals – for obvious reasons – as they are in receipt of the large share!

‘In 2019, disclosed donations reached an all-time annual high of $5.6 million in anticipation of the Federal election. Of this, 72% or just over $4 million came from a single source, Sugolena Ptd Ltd. Sugolena’s donation was exclusively to the Federal Liberal Party.

‘The Miracle’!

That year, Sugolena was the Liberal Party’s second-biggest single donor, behind the party’s fundraising arm The Cormack Foundation.’

Sugolena, owned by property tycoon Isaac Wakil, donated a staggering $4,162,448 to the Liberals and the Liberal National Party in Queensland. Mr Wakil himself donated $32,073 to the NSW Liberals.

Read more!

‘Property Industry Donations Favour the Coalition about Eight to One AEC Figures show’

https://www.domain.com.au/news/property-industry-donations-favour-the-coalition-about-eight-to-one-aec-figures-show-927046/

BACKGROUND

Scott Morrison wrote the policy for the developer lobby group, the Property Council of Australia before entering politics …

ABC Report APRA tightens home loan rules as New Zealand’s Reserve Bank lifts interest rates

LOOKS like APRA is doing its bit

‘The increase in the interest rate buffer applies to all new borrowers, but
APRA said the impact of a higher serviceability buffer is likely to be larger
for investors
than owner-occupiers.

It said this is because, on average, investors tend to borrow at higher levels
of leverage and may have other existing debts
(to which the buffer would
also be applied).

It noted that first home buyers tend to be under-represented as a share of
borrowers borrowing a high multiple of their income
as they tend to be more
constrained by the size of their deposit.

READ MORE!

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-06/apra-tightens-home-loan-rules/100516758

BUT will the Morrison Government do its bit?

READ MORE!

Transparency International Australia CEO says Mystery Foreign Buyers distort our Housing Market …

’Australians trying to crack into the property market are facing the extra hurdle of competing against mystery foreign investors, according to corporate transparency experts and the federal opposition.’

There have been calls for a public register of ultimate company owners since 2016 …

BUT is that enough?

The Morrison Government has not committed to such a register!

Labor has not yet committed to implementing such a register if it wins the next election … obviously it is keeping its powder dry following the dirty LNP coalition campaign in 2019 …


The Pandora Papers have revealed how offshore business structures are being used in Australia to conceal corporate ownership. 

This is impacting our Families … and YET we need to provide more proof of identity to get a library card than what is needed to register a company in Australia.

IT is not only about multimillion-dollar purchases, but Australians are unaware of who they are competing with when trying to buy a home because real estate agents, accountants and lawyers are not required to report a suspicious transaction like the banks! 

This is because the Morrison Government exempted these gatekeepers from the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Laws in October 2018!

And this invasion really distorts the market!  Treasurer Josh Frydenberg only indicated that work was underway to establish a register in the future … why be so vague?

AND despite the Pandora Papers now being public there was nothing further to add!

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said:

“Every time a wealthy, powerful, influential person gets away with these kinds of practices, ordinary working people have to pay more.

“That’s why we need to do what we can to try and stamp it out. That begins with transparency.”

Help keep family & friends informed by SHARING our questions and this article!

READ AND VIEW: 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-05/pandora-papers-show-impact-of-mystery-foreign-property-investors/100515630

How Australia has become a Haven for ‘Hot Money’ …

How Australia has become a Haven for ‘Hot Money’ …

APART from all those Aussie Homes that don’t get to be listed on Domain or RealEstate.com

where the neighbours have not seen a ‘For Sale/Auction’ Sign … but then the removalist turns up!

And home buyers and First Home Buyers wonder why there are so few homes advertised for sale?

Because it’s now been revealed … as we long suspected … that they have been sold online or through a Proxy here to High Net Worth, Ultra High Net Worth and Middle Class foreign buyers … seeking Permanent Residency in Australia for their extended family!

SO it now appears why some in the property sector have been so smug and repeatedly blaming the low interest rates and government grants alone for pushing up house prices.

EG Advisory managing director Shane Geha reckons that buyers should not hold out for the housing bubble to burst. And he predicts with dwelling prices having already increased by 20% in the past 12 months that there will be another 10% increase before year’s end!

Geha reckons that it is the Expats alone are coming back with Millions $ to settle or invest back in Australia with so much cash … and that Australians have found plenty of extra pocket money during the pandemic ... despite many on low wages … and how many thousands having lost jobs!

Published by News Corp: https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/australias-property-prices-will-continue-to-rise-with-no-bubble-to-burst-expert-says/news-story/5451063177b4be140332f6ca519d9449

Sadly what more could we expect from Geha and Murdoch Family’s News Corp?

DESPITE the Four Corners programme on Sunday, 3 October 2021, ‘The Pandora Papers’!

READ this from The Saturday Paper!

‘Pandora’s Box of Tax Dodgers’

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/post/max-opray/2021/10/04/pandoras-box-tax-dodgers

‘Real Estate Corruption Exposed’

https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/post/max-opray/2021/10/05/real-estate-corruption-exposed

SEARCH CAAN WEBSITE for more info about:

-the range of Visas including Family, Parent, Grandparent, Guardian etc;

-the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Laws exemption for the Real Estate Gatekeepers (real estate agents, lawyers and accountants)

-buyers from Hong Kong and Singapore

CAAN WEBSITE:

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/

Teflon Gladys … Why has Mainstream Media been calling it ‘Gladys Shock Resignation’ with the ICAC Investigation set to Begin?

LATEST REPORT FROM SYDNEY CRIMINAL LAWYERS

WHY has mainstream media been calling it ‘Gladys’ shock resignation … ?

-media owned by Murdoch … and 9 Entertainment steered by former Lib Treasurer Peter Costello

DESPITE … the previous ICAC hearing revealed her relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire

-‘pork barrelling’

-allocation of grant money; funding for roads and taxpayer funded community projects

-late 2020 GB’s office shredded at least 3 documents related to distribution of $252M in Stronger Communities Fund grants

. 95% allocated in Coalition seats prior to 2019 state election

READ MORE!

  • Help keep family & friends informed by sharing this article!

NSW Government and Deve-loper Lobby Groups Confrontation over Green Space

Key Points

criteria for apartment towers nine storeys or higher to have a maximum floor space of 700 square metres, as “slender towers

to allow for greater surrounding public spaces, more solar access, better views and less bulk

-deep soil zones for tree planting to increase the canopy and reduce urban heat

greater air circulation between apartment blocks to remove stored heat; for a better microclimate

despite government extending max floorspace for towers to 750 m2 UDIA alleges higher costs

WHAT is not revealed is why deve-lopers like high rise development … it’s because storey upon storey they make a motza!

Each apartment can cost as little as $200,000 or less to construct using job lots of fittings and fixtures; cladding; and visa workers

NOR do deve-lopers live in these dwellings that in too many instances lack cross-ventilation, with inadequate light, some so small a space is allocated for a washing machine with improvised electrical connection in a tiny bathroom

With water leaks … many are mould holes …

AS deve-lopers reside in harbourside mansions at the expense of unfortunate Australians and visa holders

READ MORE!

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/arbitrary-metrics-government-and-developers-face-off-over-green-space-20210924-p58ukc.html

Can MultiCulturalism be a Tool to Manipulate Candidacy

CONTRARY to the 7.30 Report this evening, 27 September 2021 …

‘Senior Labor Party members in Fowler are furious about an outside candidate being “parachuted” into their electorate – but it’s not former premier KRISTINA KENEALLY …… because MS LE only moved into the electorate last year and still works outside it, the Herald can reveal.’

WHY didn’t 7.30 do more research on this matter? Perhaps it is beyond the management and 7.30 Journalists, and the question should be directed to those who pull the strings!

SHAME!

Because this SMH article was published on 26 September at 5.00 a.m. a day earlier than the 7.30 Report!

Is Multiculturalism all that it is cut out to be because it appears to cause more problems … with negative reports like tonight on 7.30 – it appears to be divisive and corrosive … and it seems it can be manipulated!

WHY not be ‘AUSTRALIAN’?

AS Australians we collectively have been manipulated particularly by the property sector for their gain

We AUSTRALIANS have lost much of our Colonial and Indigenous heritage, society, community, and environment – through OVERDEVELOPMENT of high density housing to accommodate their new and additional overseas buyers!

We had no say in this … no doubt due to political donations esp. to the LNP!

Migrants having come here in vast numbers in such a short time period, particularly since 2013 it appears, this too is being manipulated with demands for greater representation in our Parliaments … through reports like this on 7.30: 27 September 2021: ‘Parliament does not reflect culturally diverse Australia, says former Fowler hopeful Tu Le’ 7.30

Is Ms Le the ideal candidate, in any case, as it appears she is putting her personal ambition over and above her Party loyalty?

READ MORE!

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/also-a-parachuter-claims-that-candidate-who-missed-out-to-keneally-was-also-a-blow-in-20210923-p58ubj.html

A Report from Greg Jericho: On the howl of despair for Home Ownership

‘That Howl of Despair is the Sound of Housing Dreams being Dashed!‘ by Greg Jericho!

What a mess … yet another one …

Home ownership for those now aged 25 – 34 is down to 40%

By the end of 2021 house prices may have risen by 40%

-wages will be lucky to grow by 2%

Michelle Bullock Assistant Governor RBA noted:

“if rapid price rises ultimately prove to be unsustainable, they could lead to sharp declines in price and turnover in the future”.

READ MORE!

And help to keep others informed by sharing this article please!

It appears that our young people have been set up by wealthy property investor lobby groups for life-long tenancy either through private rentals of old houses/units or the current move by this lot for Build-to-Rent for alleged luxury apartments with facilities to take even more of their incomes! Please consider sharing so others know!

WHAT CAAN Commentators had to say about this:

-**Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe says he understands concerns about rapid house price growth, but it’s helping household wealth to grow. ***……😆…😂…🤣, TRUE, but only for those that have homes. …😫. I like the bank governor, but at times he can come out with some doozies,………..but he also said, ***”While it is true that higher interest rates would, all else equal, see lower housing prices***….TRUE too, and that’s what’s been lacking. We have fuelled this housing affordability crisis via ultra-low interest rates. We need higher interest rates, and we need lower house prices. Furthermore, we must always prescribe to the idea that the purchase of a house must always be for the sole purpose of providing for a HOME before it can be entertained as use for WEALTH creation.

 -Scotty’s got a ‘Wealth,
War and “Freedom’ election to win..

Community Action Alliance for NSW Just wondering if the powerful lobby groups for investors hold sway over ‘the Governor’ with so much of their money tied to our banking system? It would seem so! With their members: the tradies, the mums and dad investors, the doctors, the dentists, the bakers, the uber drivers, the fresh fruit salad bar operator, the proctologist, the goodfellas all enjoying considerable tax benefits!

-We have a scandalous system called *negative gearing*, the purpose of which is to subsidise those that have the fortunate means to earn more than the poor mug next door that can’t. If you keep this phenomenon in mind every time this issue of housing affordability comes up,…which by the way, is all too often these days,…coupled with ultra low-interest rates that purposefully target investors you will understand why we are in the mess we are in.

-” Home ownership for those now aged 25–34 is down to 40%.” Will never see this headline from Realestate or Domain amongst all their breathless ”New suburb price record shattered!’ spiels..

READ MORE!

https://www.theguardian.com/business/commentisfree/2021/sep/26/that-howl-of-despair-is-the-sound-of-housing-dreams-being-dashed?fbclid=IwAR0vmVDU94CXt5nHhfYuBz1tRitnu1MsOFPHuk4NIbOu5X3RzDPxuewnaaU

TWITTER …
Guardian Australia@GuardianAus
·That howl of despair is the sound of housing dreams being dashed | Greg JerichoThat howl of despair is the sound of housing dreams being dashed | Greg JerichoAustralian government policies are designed to ensure property owners’ wealth. Affordability be damnedtheguardian.com

Perrottet Plan to bring back International Students by end 2021

TREASURER Perrottet under the cover of Covid has been working on a plan to bring back international students.  He alleges ‘tens of thousands of people in NSW rely on the international student market for work’

AND that this would ‘also address the rising issue of labour shortages in the state’.   

JUST as the high unemployment and underemployment for Australians was beginning to turn around ….

CONTRARY to Perrottet we read a report that Australian job postings had rebounded to 17 September 2021 at 48.6% above their level on 1 February 2020, and are 1.9% below their peak!

So what now!~  FFS!

This alleged ‘rising issue of labour shortages’ has had nothing to do with businesses wanting to maintain low wages and long hours of slavery these overseas students were willing to undertake to gain a Permanent Resident Visa …

The Indian market of 1.3 Billion people happens to be one of the NSW Government’s top priorities, and despite ScOmO’s war on China Perrottet has been working on a strategy to bring back students from China and Nepal.

Commentators question what is being done to manage the transition of local students from high school to university?

And why are our Universities not adequately funded?  That places should be allocated for Australian students

And question why our Universities too are being treated like a business corporation

READ MORE!

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/international-students-to-return-to-nsw-by-the-end-of-the-year-20210923-p58u93.html#comments

What does Evergrande’s Debt Crisis really mean for Australia?

IS it because the CHINESE all have excessive high debt levels?

NEXT …

Does BEIJING have the resources to save Evergrande?

With the economy weighed down by debt and COVID-19 where will the cash come from?

PRIOR to COVID-19 in late 2019 China had incurred 7 X more debt than gross domestic product

WITH a $3 Trillion fall in market value of China’s most productive companies

-printing renminbi in the absence of real growth would lead to hyper-inflation

-too many Evergrandes

e.g. Sinic Holdings Group; its stock dropped 87%

.Guangzhou R & F Properties also facing serious difficulties

.Chinese banks are exposed

CHINA’s property sector is seizing up; home sales are falling quickly

IF Chinese leaders prevent a Lehman style crash by mobilizing state enterprises and banks China could face a decade or more of stagnation!

.debt to GDP ratio soared by nearly 45% in 5 years

.Evergrande’s debt amounts to 3% of China’s annual GDP

WHY would China face a decade or more of stagnation?

Because the CHINESE all have excessive high debt levels!

WHAT does this mean for the U.S. and AUSTRALIA?

READ MORE!

‘EVERGRANDE’S Debt Crisis: Time to Ditch China’

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/573397-evergrandes-debt-crisis-time-to-ditch-china