Chinese billionaire calls Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey’s bluff on sale of Sydney mansion

A showdown is brewing between Treasurer Joe Hockey and one of China’s richest men over the forced sale of a Point Piper mansion.

In early March, Mr Hockey ordered the Chinese billionaire Xu Jiayin to sell Villa del Mare for which he’d paid $39 million last November, because the sale had contravened foreign ownership rules.

I wrote about the issue in this post.

But well beyond the halfway mark of the 90-day deadline given to sell it, there’s still no sign of it even going on the market. And since the waterfront mansion Altona took six years to sell for $52 million in 2013, agents have speculated that the deadline could see the property go for a discount price.

Lawyer Marcus Clark says if the property is not sold by June 3, Mr Hockey could seek a court order enforcing the sale.

Mr Xu, also known as Hui Ka Yan, is a high-profile scalp in the federal government’s crackdown on foreign ownership breaches. He has an estimated worth of $8.5 billion and is ranked by Forbes as China’s 15th richest person.

Xu can of course appeal any court decision. Its not going to be easy for Hockey and so far the unfolding scenario does not provide an encouraging picture for the rule as a tool to cool Chinese real estate investment in Sydney.