Internet celebrity Kim Dotcom might be on the verge of doing some serious damage to the New Zealand ruling coalition after his arrest.
It seems that after the government turned over New Zealand police officers to Big Content to allow him to be arrested on charges that are unlikely to stick, Dotcom is not exactly feeling charitable to them any longer.
It is his charity which has the ruling coalition in trouble. Months before he was considered a pariah, Dotcom wrote two large checks to the now government minister John Banks. Banks wanted to be mayor of Auckland and asked Dotcom to make his large anonymous donation in two parts so that it did not break New Zealand electoral laws.
Dotcom did this and must have been surprised when three months later armed NZ cops were breaking down his door.
While New Zealand politicians were clearly in the pockets of Big Content they were a little surprised when they discovered that one of their own number had been taking money from the other side in a somewhat illegal way. Banks was elected to parliament a year later and is now the minister of small business and regulatory reform.
Dotcom is under house arrest in his NZ$30m mansion awaiting extradition hearings over US charges of copyright and racketeering related to Megaupload.
However it seems that the Kiwi government is learning that if you take dodgy campaign donations it is not a good idea to arrest the man you took the cash from.
Dotcom is singing like a 285 pound canary and told New Zealand’s TV3, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, that he had flown Banks to his mansion in one of his helicopters.
Banks has admitted metting Dotcom, but had no memory of the visit, and “can’t recall discussing money”. We guess the ride in the helicopter was so exciting he clean forgot someone writing two cheques for $25,000 at the end of it.
Banks is the sole MP for the ACT party, and if what Dotcom says is true turns out to be right, he will have to give up his seat.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was standing by Banks amidst calls for him to be stripped of his ministerial warrants over the allegations. In New Zealand politics a Prime Minister only stands by a person in such a case for the few hours it takes them to clear out their Beehive desk.
Labour MP Trevor Mallard said he was putting a complaint to police and the Auckland electoral officer over the donations. If they respond as well as they did in the Dotcom case they could have an armed response team around to Banks’ house by the time you read this.