Government minister Jonathan Coleman knew the FBI was
interested in Kim Dotcom before his officials granted the
tycoon residency -- a revelation which has led to accusations
he misled the public.
The accusation comes after Immigration NZ released a
statement making it clear they told Dr Coleman about the FBI
the day before the critical residency decision was made.
Dr Coleman -- now Defence Minister -- is now facing calls to
come clean on exactly what he was told the day before Dotcom
was granted residency by Immigration NZ officials.
It emerged last week Dotcom was given residency in 2010
despite the SIS urging Immigration NZ to tell their minister
the FBI was carrying out a criminal investigation into him
and wanted the help of NZ Police.
Dr Coleman was briefed by Immigration NZ chief executive
Nigel Bickle on October 28, the day before Dotcom was granted
Dr Coleman distanced himself from the decision, saying it was
made by officials. He said: "Ministers had absolutely no
knowledge of any pending FBI-NZ Police investigation."
Immigration NZ has now issued a statement saying Dr Coleman
was told before Dotcom got residency.
An Immigration NZ spokesman said "the general information
about the FBI was passed to Mr Bickle who then passed it to
The spokesman said a detailed briefing containing "classified
information" was given to its Intelligence Manager Theo
Mr Kuper didn't give the classified briefing to the
Immigration NZ officer making the decision but told him on
FBI interest in Dotcom because of his Megaupload ownership,
the spokesman said.
"This information formed the briefing to the head of
Immigration New Zealand, Nigel Bickle, and in turn Mr
Bickle's briefing to the then Minister of Immigration,
Jonathan Coleman, on 28 October 2010 to tell him under the no
surprises policy that residence had been approved in
Labour associate security and intelligence spokesman Grant
Robertson said Dr Coleman had not been straight with the
"It's quite clear the minister has misled here. He was told.
I think people want ministers to be upfront. He's
deliberately fudged his answer and that's misleading.
"Dr Coleman needs to come clean. We need to see a full
explanation of his role."
Dr Coleman's office rejected repeated requests for an
interview yesterday. A spokeswoman said he didn't have time
because he was heading from Wellington to Auckland to give a
speech -- and then refused to say where he was speaking.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said: "The Prime
Minister has full confidence in Minister Coleman."
It has also emerged Dotcom has been granted the status of
"permanent resident" of New Zealand, given to those who have
shown "a commitment to living permanently in NZ".
The original investor residence granted in 2010 had a
three-year term -- and then became "permanent residency"
because Dotcom stuck to the conditions of being allowed into
New Zealand, Immigration NZ said.
"Unconditional residence can be granted to Investor Plus
applicants after three years if they provide INZ with
evidence they have continued to meet requirements. "INZ can
confirm that Mr Dotcom met all the requirements of the
Investor Plus policy and has been granted unconditional
*What Jonathan Coleman said on Monday: "Ministers had
absolutely no knowledge of any pending FBI-NZ Police
investigation."What Immigration NZ said on Wednesday: "The
general information about the FBI was passed to Mr Bickle who
then passed it to the Minister."
- David Fisher of the New Zealand Herald