Court penalises investor after OIO investigation

Published: Thu 14 Apr 2016 02:20 PM
14 April 2016
Court penalises investor after OIO investigation
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has welcomed the High Court’s order that Australian-owned Carbon Conscious New Zealand Ltd pay a $40,000 penalty – and more than $6,000 in costs – for breaching the Overseas Investment Act 2005.
OIO Group Manager Annelies McClure says the decision sends a strong message to the lawyers that advise overseas investors.
“Giving poor advice can expose clients to significant legal liability, as they’re responsible for complying with the law. They can’t hide behind their lawyer’s advice if things go wrong,” she said.
The penalty relates to the purchase of a Taranaki property in 2012. Carbon Conscious needed consent to buy, and plant trees on, the property but had a New Zealand associate buy it instead.
Carbon Conscious planned to obtain consent and buy the property later – a plan its lawyer incorrectly advised was not in breach of the Act.
The OIO learned of the purchase in 2013, and began an investigation that resulted in the OIO taking High Court action last year. The Court described the arrangement as a “deliberate circumventing of the Act’s controls on overseas investment”.
“The Court found that Carbon Conscious hadn’t intentionally broken the law – having acted on legal advice – but Carbon Conscious was still ultimately responsible for complying with the Act and, therefore, had to be penalised.
“The lawyer who acted for Carbon Conscious is no longer practising, and the OIO is pursuing action against him for his role in the Carbon Conscious matter,” Ms McClure said.
For more information, visit the LINZ website or read the full High Court judgment.

Next in New Zealand politics

On Whether This Election Is Already A Foregone Conclusion
By: Gordon Campbell
Newshub-Reid Research Poll Shows National Rising But Labour Still Governing Alone
By: Mediaworks
SFO Files Charges In Relation To NZ First Foundation Donations
By: Serious Fraud Office
Business Leaders’ Confidence Tanks As Top Kiwi CEOs Vent Their Frustrations
By: New Zealand Media and Entertainment
Taking Action To Reduce Waste And Plastics
By: New Zealand Labour Party
On Last Night’s Leaders Debate
By: Gordon Campbell
Dunne Speaks: The Election Campaign Just Grinds Slowly On And On
By: Peter Dunne
Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released
By: Electoral Commission
National Releases Its Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity
By: New Zealand National Party
The 2020 New Zealand Election Is Not A Foregone Conclusion.
By: Keith Rankin
Overseas Voting Starts On Wednesday
By: Electoral Commission
Politicians To Go Head To Head On Education Issues In Election Debate
By: NZEI Te Riu Roa
New Zealand First Fully Exonerated Of All SFO Charges
By: New Zealand First Party
Links to two judgments in the SFO's NZ First Foundation case
By: New Zealand High Court
Green Party Responds To NZ First Foundation SFO Charges
By: Green Party
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media