Fran O'Sullivan: Can't win at politics with a cheque, mate

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Dotcom's silence on bankrolling of Mana-Internet ticket galling for one so overt in efforts to oust government.

Kim Dotcom is openly colluding with fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to drop a political bomb just five days out from the election. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Kim Dotcom is openly colluding with fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to drop a political bomb just five days out from the election. Photo / Brett Phibbs

It's ridiculous that the New Zealand political system can be gamed by an international businessman with criminal convictions who bought his way into this country via the Investor Plus scheme. That businessman subsequently avoided extradition attempts. Then bankrolled a new political party to the tune of $3 million to "take down John Key" and is now openly colluding with Julian Assange to drop a political bomb just five days out from the election.

Kim Dotcom has long been resisting US Government attempts to extradite him to the United States to face allegations of racketeering and money-laundering over the use of his former file-hosting site Megaupload.

Now Dotcom's palled up with the redoubtable Assange, who took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition by the Swedish Government over alleged sexual offences.

You can just imagine the phone calls between the pair.

"This is better than playing Call of Duty, Julian ... You can take down a whole Government in this country, all you need is money and some politicians happy to go on the payroll."

Dotcom has plenty of supporters who feel he was hard done by over the super-hyped raid on the Coatesville mansion. There are big issues still to be addressed.

But it's notable that while he has flung more than $3 million into the Internet Party - even putting on the payroll a former Alliance Cabinet minister whose politics are vastly different from his - he won't brook informed questions over what's really gone on in the Coatesville sandpit when it comes to getting out his chequebook to buy political influence.

Thus he has tried to legally constrain his former bodyguard Wayne Tempero from speaking to media about the lead-up to the birth of the Internet Party.

This is remarkably thin-skinned. If Dotcom has nothing to hide, why would he be concerned about what Tempero has to say?

He is the party's "visionary" and banker and he should be put on the spotgiven the lengths he is prepared togo to change the government.

But at the weekend he tried to avoid journalists after he made imprudent comments at the Internet Mana movement campaign opening which led some journalists to believe he had suggested that Key could be the next target for hackers.

The reality is that this is a very public political play by a businessman who, if he was confident of his position, would simply fly to the US to defend himself in the American judicial system.

Now shares in Mega Ltd (the Cloud storage provider that Dotcom set up and sold out of to raise cash) have been seized by New Zealand police as a result of a money-laundering investigation.

Those shares, which amount to an 18.8 per cent stake in Mega Ltd, were owned by William Yan (also known as Bill Liu).

Mega Ltd CEO Graham Gaylard says the shares "have been subject to a restraining order under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act".

"Mega has been extremely diligent to ensure that all its operations are fully compliant with all legal and regulatory requirements. Mega does not undertake any illegal activities and does not wish to be associated with any such activity."

At this stage the Mega CEO clearly expects he has been able to sufficiently distance the company from Liu's alleged actions so as not to interfere with the listing plans.

But the listing will not take place till later this year. Meanwhile Dotcom has his hands full playing politics.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

Fran O'Sullivan

A columnist for the NZ Herald

Fran O'Sullivan has written a weekly column for the Business Herald since its inception in April 1997. In her early journalistic career she was a political journalist in Wellington and subsequently an investigative journalist who broke many major business stories including the first articles that led to the Winebox Inquiry in both NBR and the Sydney Morning Herald. She has specific expertise in relation to China where she has been a frequent visitor since the late 1990s. She is a former Editor of the National Business Review; has twice been awarded Qantas Journalist of the Year and is a multiple winner of the Westpac Financial Journalism Supreme Award.

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