Kim Dotcom is challenging government minister Jonathan
Coleman to explain why he didn't block his application for
residency after learning of an FBI investigation into him.
Dotcom claims Immigration officials broke their own rules to
grant him residency in a ploy to lure him to New Zealand so
the FBI would have an easier time of extraditing him on
criminal copyright charges.
There were denials from the Government yesterday of
interference in Dotcom's residency after emails between SIS
agents in 2010 cited "political pressure to process this
The claim was made 90 minutes before the spy agency lifted
its objection to the tycoon's residency.
Dotcom said it was hard to believe then-Immigration Minister
Jonathan Coleman was told of the FBI investigation on October
28, 2010 - the day his residency was decided - and then
didn't move to block it.
"Why in the world with that knowledge would the Minister of
Immigration not intervene and say this is going to be a bad
look for us knowing there is an investigation and a desire to
"[They would say] we can't give this guy residency just
because of the money ..."
He claims a decision to work with the US to get him into New
Zealand for easier extradition was behind the decision.
Dotcom said his bid for residency should have failed because
of Immigration NZ rules which automatically put applications
on hold for six months if those seeking entry are under
Dotcom said the SIS emails made it clear Immigration NZ knew
of the FBI investigation but there was no reference to it in
the report which saw him granted residency. He said that was
because it would have triggered the automatic six-month hold.
"In order to overcome that barrier they left it out wilfully
so they could go out and give me residency."
Immigration NZ, which denies any "political pressure",
confirmed the six-month hold for those under investigation.
But an Immigration spokesman said the agency "was not aware
of any active investigation under way by the FBI" - only that
he was a "person of interest".
"It was decided that the information received did not meet
the threshold to trigger a deferral of the residence
application because of character concerns."
The FBI investigation was a feature in secret SIS documents.
Staff at the spy agency insisted information about an FBI
"criminal investigation" be passed to Immigration NZ. On
October 28 they gave information to Immigration NZ's most
senior intelligence official about the FBI's wish to carry
out a joint investigation with the NZ Police into Dotcom. The
official briefed Mr Coleman.
The SIS told Immigration NZ to contact police before giving
Dotcom residency - a step it never took.
Mr Coleman yesterday denied any political pressure, saying
the decision was made by Immigration officials alone.
The decision document, obtained through the Official
Information Act by the Herald, contains no mention of the FBI
interest in Dotcom. It was signed off by an official and
approved by his branch manager.
The official said he "did not consider that it is in the
national interest that the applicant be granted residence"
and "a threat to public interest exists should the applicant
be granted residence".
However, he said Dotcom's spending power outweighed the
negative prospects, and granted residency.
Labour MP Grant Robertson said he was sceptical about
Immigration NZ's denial of political pressure.
"I'm very concerned about the idea that the SIS magically
decided the hold on the case no longer mattered 90 minutes
after they heard about political pressure on Immigration NZ.
And the fact INZ were told to talk to police and didn't do it
really defies belief."
- By David Fisher of The New Zealand Herald