The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) imposed an administrative fine of €24,000 on Richland Real Estate B.V., because the company offered investments without a licence from December 2007 to 25 November 2008.
Richland Real Estate offered plots of land to consumers in the Netherlands, which speculated on a value increase of the land as a result of a change in its designated use. The offer also comprised that the management of the land would be performed by someone other than the acquirer. This service is designated in legislation as offering investments. It is prohibited, based on Article 2:55 of the Financial Supervision Act, to offer investments without a licence.
Richland Real Estate has made use of the exemption on the basis of Article 2 of the Exemption Regulations under the Financial Supervision Act. This means that Richland Real Estate may only offer investment with a value per investment of at least €50,000. Richland Real Estate is also required, when offering these investments and in advertisements and documents in which such an offer is made, to indicate that it is not subject to a licence requirement and that Richland Real Estate does not come under AFM supervision.
The fine was imposed by decision dated 8 March 2010 and was mitigated to €24,000 after Richland objected to this fine. Richland instituted various proceedings against the fine that had been imposed. The courts ultimately upheld the fine, which meant that the fine became unchallengeable in court on 15 September 2011.
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