Global Banking & Finance Review
"Real Estate In the Crosshairs: Congressional Calls to Step Up Scrutiny of Foreign Investment"
Foreign ownership of property has become a key touchstone in the debate over national security, especially as government agencies and contractors are regular tenants in buildings controlled by non-U.S. investors or owners. Thus, it’s not surprising that the Government Accountability Office recently undertook an independent review of leasing practices of the General Services Administration, to assess how the GSA mitigates risks when it leases space to high-security tenants in foreign-owned buildings where concerns of espionage or influence-peddling could be elevated.
A new bill is now before Congress proposing to change the process by which federal leasing agencies, including the GSA, gather information on the actual beneficial owners of foreign-owned real estate. Three U.S. Senators are attempting to examine the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States review process and the types of real estate transactions that fall under the committee’s jurisdiction.