Why billionaire Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin was forced to sell $39 million ...

Why billionaire Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin was forced to sell $39 million ...
Why billionaire Evergrande founder Xu Jiayin was forced to sell $39 million ...

The Chinese property developer threatening the health of the world's second biggest economy has an Australian connection with Evergrande's billionaire founder six years ago forced to sell a $39million mansion on Sydney Harbour.

Xu Jiayin was at the centre of a political storm in Australia in March 2015 after it emerged China's 15th richest man had failed to seek permission to buy Villa del Mare in Point Piper.

This harbour front section of Sydney's eastern suburbs was home to future prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond.

Mr Xu, who founded Evergrande in 1996, loved this ritzy postcode where mansions with a pontoon for the boat are a much more common than mega high-rise apartments.

The Chinese billionaire founder of embattled property developer Evergrande was six years ago forced to sell a $39million mansion on Sydney Harbour

The Chinese billionaire founder of embattled property developer Evergrande was six years ago forced to sell a $39million mansion on Sydney Harbour

Xu Jiayin was at the centre of a political storm in Australia in March 2015 after it emerged China's 15th richest man had failed to seek permission to buy Villa del Mare in Point Piper

 Xu Jiayin was at the centre of a political storm in Australia in March 2015 after it emerged China's 15th richest man had failed to seek permission to buy Villa del Mare in Point Piper

The trouble is he forgot to tell the Foreign Investment Review Board about his November 2014 purchase of a six-bedroom, Mediterranean-style residential house on Wolseley Road in Australia's most expensive and exclusive suburb.

Then Liberal treasurer Joe Hockey, in the final months Tony Abbott's prime ministership, announced the forced sale of Villa de Mare, less than half a year after LJ Hooker at Double Bay oversaw the trophy transaction.

Under Australian law, foreigners must seek approval from FIRB before buying residential real estate.

Temporary residents are limited in the level of existing properties they can purchase.

Mr Xu had bought the mansion through an Australian company but the foreign investment watchdog determined its position as a shelf company for a Hong Kong-based real estate group meant the transaction breached regulations.

The billionaire was given 90 days to sell the property. While his wealth has shrunk by 80 per cent during the past four years, Bloomberg estimates he is still worth $12billion, which in Australian dollars would still put him among Australia's top ten high net-worth individuals.

When he bought a Sydney Harbour mansion, Forbes estimated he was China's 15th richest man. 

Villa del Mare's previous owner, recruitment agent entrepreneur Julia Ross, put the mansion on the market in August 2014 before Mr Xu secretly bought the grand home in October, settling in November that year.

This harbour front section of Sydney's eastern suburbs was home to future prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond

This harbour front section of Sydney's eastern suburbs was home to future prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond

Mr Xu, who founded Evergrande in 1996, loved this ritzy postcode where mansions with a pontoon for the boat are a much more common than mega high-rise apartments

Mr Xu, who founded Evergrande in 1996, loved this ritzy postcode where mansions with a pontoon for the boat are a much more common than mega high-rise apartments

The company listed on the Villa del Mare's settlement papers, Golden Fast Foods Pty Ltd, was linked to Mr Xu's , Evergrande, the builder of massive apartment towers.  

China is now home to 65million empty apartments, with enough accommodation to house 90million people in a nation of 1.4billion.

Evergrande's debt woes are threatening to cause a major slowdown in China, Australia's biggest trading partner.

China's second biggest property developer on Tuesday missed a third annual interest payment deadline to bondholders, this one

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