Investigating possible breaches

Find out about our work investigating possible breaches of the overseas investment rules.

What we investigate

Our investigations fall into the following broad areas:

  • failure to get consent for an overseas investment before investing
  • attempts to get around the rules
  • failure to meet commitments made in the application
  • providing us with false, inaccurate or incomplete information
  • failure to comply with notices requiring information to be produced.

What we do when we investigate

The steps we take when investigating a matter depend on the circumstances. We may:

  • ask the investor to explain what has happened by letter or by informal discussion
  • make inquiries using intelligence available to us from other agencies, and from public resources
  • analyse monitoring reports, including those from independent experts
  • carry out site inspections
  • issue notices requiring information be provided
  • carry out formal interviews
  • exercise our search and seizure powers
  • require the investor to provide a statutory declaration about how they have complied with the conditions of consent, the reasons for any breach and steps they intend to take to remedy it.

How we gather information


Interviews are a useful way to gather and clarify information. Investors are not under any obligation to attend an interview and are entitled to end the interview at any time. We invite investors to bring along a legal adviser or other support person. Our preference is to record interviews, but we always seek permission if we intend to do so and make a copy of the recording available to the investor.


A notice is a legal document that requires a person to provide information for compliance and monitoring purposes. It is an offence to fail to comply with a notice without a lawful excuse.

Providing information to us

Any information you provide to us, whether orally or in writing, must be complete, accurate and truthful.

In particular:

  • it is a condition of every consent that the information provided to us was correct at the time it was provided
  • it is an offence to resist, obstruct or deceive us when we seek to exercise a power or function
  • it is an offence to knowingly or recklessly make any false or misleading statement or material omission in a communication to us.

What next?

When we believe a breach of the rules has occurred, we consider the full range of enforcement tools available to us.

Our enforcement tools