Overseas Property Developers Fraud

  • 17 years ago
  • Uncategorized
London 22nd November 2007-The need for due diligence checks on overseas property developers was highlighted today when an Australian property developer received a four year jail term for fraud.
Robert Orehek, a Sydney-based property developer pleaded guilty to two charges of fraudulently misappropriating investors’ funds. He raised $20 million from investors and used the funds largely to pursue a James Bond lifestyle which included the purchase of a Red Ferrari a new Porsche and a Ducati motor bike.
The fraudster raised finance for residential property developments in Balmoral, Northbridge, Wahroonga, Mosman, Rose Bay, Fairlight Cherrybrook and Glenhaven. Only one development was ever completed.
Another similar case was reported in October 2007 where a Dublin Solicitor Michael Lynn was brought before the High Court in Ireland on fraud charges. He also used clients’ money this time to purchase overseas property and draw down some €26 million in loans.
Mr. Lynn was the solicitor for Proper T Capel and Kendar Holdings Ltd. and owned over 100 properties, with some 40 in Slovakia, Bulgaria, China, Spain, England and Dubai.
Mr Lynn also operated under the name of Overseas Property Law. For a fee, the firm would produce a report on a property abroad. If a person decided to buy that property, then the purchase money was often passed through the client account of Mr Lynn, according to one report.
Earlier this year the UK based overseas property industry magazine ‘Overseas Property Professional’ (OPP) reported a flurry of activity by various trade associations and legal firms after the successful launch of due diligence products called International Developer Information Packs (IDIP). The product aims to give overseas off plan developments a legal health check by an international team of independent lawyers who have no vested interest in the development.  IDIPs can be instructed by consumers, real estate agents and property developers. Importantly these are conducted before the buying process.
Most recently IDIP has found that increasingly property developers are submitting themselves for inspection. Developers were undergoing the independent checks in a bid to reassure investors and to use the product as part of their marketing strategy.
Hunters Property Group whose credentials include winning the prestigious Sunday Times SME top 100 companies to work for awards is one of the first UK estate agencies to adopt International Developers Information Packs or IDIP. Hunters Property Group now has all off plan overseas developments that they promote undergo legal health checks before they reach their clients.
Due Diligence has been an issue concerning the UK overseas property industry this was highlighted by Lawyer John Howell in a recent article in OPP. He explained that he has had a steady trickle of calls from agents and developers about the subject. He also made it clear that there will be a European code of practice obligating agents to check out property developments before they offer them for sale.  

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