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Australia’s housing market attractive for foreign corrupt funds, report shows

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An international anti-money laundering body has warned that Australia’s housing market needs to secure itself from money laundering, which has attracted Chinese funds with possible links to corruption, reports Fairfax Media.
 
The report by intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said real estate agents and lawyers have been identified as a high money laundering risk in Australia, where regulations do not require them to report suspicious transactions.
 
"Australia is seen as an attractive destination for foreign proceeds, particularly corruption-related proceeds flowing into real estate, from the Asia-Pacific region," FATF said in its year-long review of Australia.
 
Chinese real estate buyers are the top foreign investors of the Australian housing market, making nearly $6bn in 2013, data from the Foreign Investment Review Board showed.
 
FATF’s statement came a month after Australia ordered the Chinese owner of a $39m Sydney mansion to sell up, arguing it was purchased illegally. Regulators did not confirm if it was linked to corrupt funds.
 
Treasurer Joe Hockey immediately assured that the country would make its investigations into foreign property investors stricter.
 
Chinese state media itself has said in earlier reports that countries like Australia, the United States and Canada are the three most popular destinations for suspected economic criminals from China. 
 

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