One needs simply Google ‘Airbnb money laundering’ and all sorts of interesting things pop up on screen. Even Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafortwas indicted for money laundering that included a property listed on Airbnb.
So let’s just say we’ve been watching at a distance a Sydney Airbnb property for some two years now. We’ve had coffee with the Resident Owner, who confirms the Airbnb listing most definitely isn’t theirs.
Enter Airbnb ‘super host’ / aka property manager ‘Jeb’, who is based in New York. ‘Jeb’ has this Sydney York Street apartment available at $2,500.00/night. He updated the Airbnb availability chart a day ago - proof he’s constantly ‘working the listing’ on Airbnb’s platform. There’s a possibility to rent the place for a few nights at the end of January and again at the end of February. After that, the calendar is currently wide open. That said, about 18 months ago someone we know asked to book the property, only Jeb came back and refused them saying ‘they didn’t look legit to him’. Truly.
In all this time ‘Jeb’ has never had a review posted for this splendid dwelling, even though one would believe, from that which Airbnb displays, the property is almost constantly booked.
At the other end of the City, in Bourke Street Darlinghurst, Jeb and his ‘co-host’ James list a small studio. Here they currently have 154 Airbnb reviews. We spoke yesterday to the Agent who has leased out the studio; she advised it’s only big enough for a single occupant, short-term rentals are not permitted and that there are no Airbnbs in the building.
So we are wondering who are ‘Jeb’ and ‘James’, and what exactly are they up to? We can only guess as, let’s remember, Airbnb’s so-called ‘hosts’ / property managers:
Don’t provide their name
Don’t list their contact telephone number/s
Don’t list their contact email address
Don’t normally list their business name or ABN on websites
Perhaps mates at Airbnb – Brent Thomas or Sam McDonagh - could help with what looks like: a) An illegal sub-lease on one apartment in, b) A building where short-term rentals are an “Illegal Use of Premises” and, c) Another ‘fake’ listing for the home of a senior City of Sydney Administrator in, d) Another building where Airbnbrentals are an “Illegal Use of Premises”and, 3) Possibly a portal for money laundering or some other ‘off the books’ activity.
Just how many fake listings and questionable operators are Airbnb aiding and abetting across NSW? And who is ‘Jeb’?
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