Kim Dotcom did not declare a conviction for dangerous driving on his application for New Zealand residency even though he had pleaded guilty to the charge eight months earlier.
The conviction was entered in September 2009 under the name Kim Schmitz after Dotcom was caught travelling 99km/h over the speed limit north of Auckland, according to court documents released to the Herald yesterday.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says Immigration New Zealand is "looking into the matter".
Eight months later, Dotcom's residency application asked, "Have you or your family members included in your application ever been ... convicted of an offence (including a traffic offence) committed in the last five years involving dangerous driving".
The form, signed by Dotcom and dated June 3, 2010, shows the "No" box to be clearly marked, indicating no dangerous driving conviction had been earned.
An Immigration spokeswoman said she couldn't comment on questions relating to Dotcom.
But, speaking generally, if Immigration NZ determined that someone had obtained their residence status through immigration fraud, such as providing false or misleading information in support of a visa application, they might become liable for deportation.
Kim Dotcom's residency application (App users click here)
Court records show Dotcom was caught by a radar gun doing 149km/h in a 50km/h zone on September 10, 2009.
According to the police summary of facts, it took about 1.7km for police to catch up with Dotcom at the top of Albany hill, near his Coatesville mansion. He told the police officer who stopped him the speeding was a "stupid mistake", according to the summary of facts released by Judge Nevin Dawson.
Court records held at the North Shore District Court show Dotcom pleaded guilty by letter on September 14, 2009. The summary of facts stated Dotcom was driving the 3.6-litre AMG Mercedes "at speed" as he approached the 80km/h sign.
"When spoken to by police the defendant stated he had seen an 80km/h sign. He further stated that he stepped on the gas for 3-4 seconds and then braked and reduced his speed to the speed limit. He also stated he wanted to test the acceleration of the vehicle."
The judge for the September 14, 2009 case fined Dotcom $500 and $130 court costs, banning him from driving for six months. In a letter to the court, signed "Kim Schmitz", Dotcom said he would be ferried to and from business meetings as a result of losing his licence. "I am extremely regretful of this moment's thoughtlessness in a new car and will have some time as a passenger to reflect on this. I wish to apologise for my breach of this traffic law."
Yesterday, Dotcom told the Herald he believed speeding issues had been disclosed by his advisers, who were aware of the September 2009 incident. Told of the residency declaration, he said: "Oh really? That's not good, obviously."
A spokeswoman for Minister Woodhouse said last night: "As there are a number of matters relating to Mr Dotcom before the court, it would be inappropriate to comment. The minister is advised that [Immigration NZ] are looking into the matter."
Dotcom was granted residency under the Investor Plus category. He required a character waiver but it was in relation to convictions he had disclosed from Germany which had since been wiped under the country's clean slate legislation.
Kim Dotcom's residence special direction (
App users click here)
Immigration NZ records, released under the Official Information Act, reveal Dotcom's immigration advisers at Malcolm Pacific disclosed a 1994 hacking conviction and a 2001 suspended sentence for insider trading. There is also no sign in the OIA documents that Immigration NZ carried out a New Zealand police check of the tycoon's history, even though the Security Intelligence Service was engaged to check with overseas agencies.
It was the overseas SIS check that revealed the FBI was interested in the tycoon, with staff at the agency later referring to "political pressure" being behind the residency application being granted.
A month after Dotcom was granted residency, his lawyers disclosed he was facing share trading charges in Hong Kong which had not been declared.
Immigration NZ staff considered deportation but upheld Dotcom's residency.
Immigration NZ's acting chief executive Steve Stuart said staff were "meticulous" in the checks made.