A Russian multi-millionaire seeking New Zealand citizenship
had a drink-driving charge dropped after his arrest was lost
Waiwera Water owner Mikhail Khimich was over the limit when
his Porsche was stopped for speeding on the Auckland Harbour
Bridge, court papers show.
But Judge Pippa Sinclair threw the case out after ruling
police had failed to inform Khimich of his rights because of
Khimich told the Herald on Sunday he regretted the incident
and was taking driving lessons to improve. The officer
stopped Khimich on November 8 last year and performed a
breath test after smelling alcohol on his breath. The
property and minerals baron was taken back to the harbour
bridge police station for a second evidential breath test.
The officer noted Khimich's difficulty in understanding him,
and his partner made inquiries to find a translator.
In the meantime, Khimich called his secretary in Russia and
she translated over loudspeaker as the officer read him his
There was a dispute over how the phone call ended.
According to the court documents, Khimich's lawyer John
Clearwater claimed in court his cellphone had gone flat
during the conversation with the secretary and he had asked
for a charger. This claim was disputed by the officer.
The officer then tried to simplify the language used while
reading Khimich his rights, but failed to notify the Russian
that the 577 reading of micrograms of alcohol per litre of
breath could be used against him as evidence.
The limit is 400 mcg per litre of breath but that is set to
drop to 250mcg this year.
At a hearing at the North Shore District Court on March 12,
Judge Sinclair told Khimich he was not fully informed of his
rights despite signing the Bill of Rights document and
failing to inform the officer that he did not understand.
She concluded the breath test was improperly obtained and
could not be used.
Khimich told the Herald on Sunday in a statement released
through his lawyers he took full responsibility for the
"I deeply regret the whole incident and I am determined to
contribute positively to New Zealand as a law-abiding,
productive member of New Zealand society.
"To avoid such an incident ever occurring again, I am
currently taking driving lessons so as to improve my driving
If he had been convicted, Khimich may have been in breach of
his citizenship and Overseas Investment Office requirements,
which state he must continue to be of good character.
The Herald on Sunday revealed in February how an employee of
Khimich's, former KGB bioterrorism expert Alexander
Kouzminov, escaped conviction despite testing more than twice
the legal drink-drive limit.
His conviction was overturned after his lawyer Stuart Blake
argued he would lose the right to travel overseas as a
consultant for several foreign intelligence agencies.
- By Bevan Hurley of Herald on Sunday