Argentinian brothers could be made to sell Onetai Station

Onetai Station (file)
Onetai Station (file)

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has issued a formal warning to the Argentinian buyers of Taranaki's Onetai Station for failing to provide complete and accurate information when they applied to buy in 2013.

Brothers Rafael and Federico Grozovsky had been charged for alleged pollution offences in Argentina when Ceol & Muir, the company they owned, applied for consent - however they failed to inform the OIO.

"We have put Ceol & Muir on notice by giving them a formal warning about the need to provide us with complete and accurate information," says Lesley Haines, Deputy Chief Executive of the OIO.

"We will take the warning into account in all future information that Ceol & Muir provides us, including during our ongoing monitoring of their consent."

The OIO became aware though it's own investigation that the Grozovsky brothers had been charged for alleged pollution offences in Argentina when Ceol & Muir applied for consent.

"We are monitoring closely the court proceedings in Argentina. If the Grozovsky brothers are found guilty, we will consider the outcome and they could be made to sell Onetai Station," Ms Haines says.

"We have also carried out a site inspection as part of monitoring the conditions of consent. Progress in some areas has been good, for instance, the removal of 2500 feral goats, but progress in other areas has been slower than expected."

Ceol & Muir purchased Onetai Station in Awakino, north of Taranaki in 2014. The OIO investigated the company and its owners after the leaked Panama Papers showed a connection with Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which acted as an incorporation agent for Ceol & Muir.

The brothers have until 2020 to complete the development of Onetai Station.