The senior GCSB executive sent on "gardening leave" knew Kim Dotcom's immigration status just after the raid and was the "most likely person" to be called on when the bureau tried to keep its spying secret months later.

Hugh Wolfensohn was at home yesterday as questions continued over the Government Communications Security Bureau's involvement in the Dotcom case.

The stand-down came as the Herald identified Mr Wolfensohn as a key figure in the illegal operation to spy on Mr Dotcom. The Herald has since learned his involvement extended to being among those at the bureau who knew Mr Dotcom's true legal status in February.

Prime Minister John Key has said the bureau illegally spied on Dotcom because of a legal misunderstanding, but Mr Wolfensohn's role at the GCSB was as chief legal officer with the designation CX. He also held the role of acting director during the Dotcom operation and deputy director, mission enablement, straight after.


In August, the GCSB's involvement faced being exposed by Mr Dotcom's QC, Paul Davison, in the High Court at Auckland. The GCSB went to Acting Prime Minister Bill English on August 16 and had him sign a ministerial warrant that would have kept the bureau's role secret.

GCSB expert Nicky Hager, author of Secret Power, said Mr Wolfensohn was "the most likely person" to be involved in the August request to have the Dotcom mission declared a secret. Mr Wolfensohn did not respond to messages.