Embattled internet tycoon Kim Dotcom says he is now considered a pariah and may quit New Zealand.
In an exclusive interview with the Herald on Sunday the Mega founder, who is facing internet piracy charges, says he is bearing the brunt of a vicious public backlash since the general election and now thinks his only option is to leave his adopted home at the end of US court proceedings.
He said he was renewing his offer to the Department of Justice to voluntarily travel to the US for his trial. But this was on the condition he was given bail and that assets seized in the 2012 Dotcom mansion raid are returned to him.
From the outset he has maintained his innocence and says he is confident of winning any court action against him.
Dotcom was at a loss to explain why the tide of public opinion had turned so harshly against him. "It's turned into something very ugly. Now I am a pariah," he said.
"The funny thing is I haven't changed and I don't think I've done anything wrong. I'm still the same guy who only a matter of months ago people were cheering for."
The Mega mogul, who last year separated from wife Mona, said the negativity was making life too difficult to stay. "What's the problem with me having bail in the US in accordance with my offer to return then I'm out of here?
"The Prime Minister will forget about me, New Zealanders will forget about me and I will be gone."
He said he was sure he and his estranged wife, who currently lives in an adjacent home on his expansive Coatesville compound, could come to an arrangement that meant he was in constant contact with his five children. "I'm sure Mona would go to the US with the kids."
Dotcom, who founded the Internet Party, which then forged a controversial and ultimately disastrous alliance with Hone Harawira's Mana Party, said his political intentions were "pure".
"The Internet Party stood for good for all New Zealanders. I thought I was doing people a favour and it backfired."
But despite the public reaction he said he had no regrets about merging with Mana, saying it allowed him to experience Maori culture and hospitality.
"I will always be grateful to Hone and his people for teaching me humility," he said.