This is known as "phoenixing" and is illegal under Australian corporations law.Whiteman declined to comment when approached outside the offices he had been locked out of.

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These companies were also ideally suited for foreigners to legally avoid the penal 35% non-resident Capital Gains Tax on the sale of property, and consequently a strong motivation for non-residents to buy properties with Spanish companies owned directly by themselves rather than through a foreign holding company.

As indicated earlier, in 2007 the Holding Company special tax treatment was abolished and anyone selling property out of the company after that had to pay the 35% company tax in force at the time, or had a certain period of time in which to liquidate the company.

A number of staff told the ABC they were working for the company as unpaid interns.

The other occupants of the shared space alleged that Whiteman had failed to pay his rent, but when they attempted to evict him he commenced proceedings at Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) seeking access to the office.

For the buyers the system appeared easy: it avoided transfer taxes and if at any future point they wanted to sell, they could offer the new buyer the same company package.

This worked until the Spanish Tax Authorities “saw the light” and changed the tax laws, making the sale of companies owning properties much more difficult.

However, Whiteman appears to have been undeterred by the serious allegations.

The ABC has learnt he is back in business using a new company called ZZZ Accounting to advise clients. The director of the ZZZ Accounting is a man named Ronald Paul Thexton.

As a buyer of Spanish residential property, you may often hear the term “company-owned property” and, particularly in the case of older and larger homes, it will be something that may well come up in the course of your home-hunting.

This article sets out some basic history, evolution, and present day considerations relative to this issue.

The advantages in the eyes of the owner of the company were clear: when selling the property, he could offer for sale the shares of his holding company, instead of selling the property from the company.