New Zealand Law Society - Lawyer ticked off for wrong advice

Lawyer ticked off for wrong advice

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A Queenstown lawyer has been given a warning for providing incorrect legal advice to overseas investors.

Russell Mawhinney was given the warning letter from the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) last month.

Mr Mawhinney is a former member of the New Zealand Law Society Property Law Section Executive Committee and a former Queenstown Lakes District Councillor.

The OIO’s investigation found that Mr Mawhinney gave incorrect legal advice about Overseas Investment Act matters on two occasions, in 2012 and two years later. One of those was on the sale of a campground in Glenorchy.

“In each case, you incorrectly advised your clients about the need for consent, despite the need for consent being clear,” says Kirsty Millard, Manager Enforcement, in the warning letter.

Mr Mawhinney has agreed to take steps to minimise the risk of incorrect advice being given to overseas investors.

As part of its investigation, the OIO reviewed 364 transactions involving Mr Mawhinney between 2012 and 2016. Only two raised a red flag.

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