Internet mogul Kim Dotcom has failed in his bid to have former United States President Barack Obama served with a court order and forced to give evidence before a New Zealand judge over a damages claim for his defunct streaming website.

Obama is in the country for three days and enjoyed a round of golf today alongside former Prime Minister Sir John Key and his son Max at Kauri Cliffs.

However, late on Monday, Dotcom's legal team filed an application for a subpoena to have Obama examined in a Kiwi court.

But the German-born Dotcom, who is represented by lawyers Ron Mansfield and Simon Cogan, realised his request was a long shot and also asked for, in the alternative, an order sending a letter of request to US judicial authorities to take Obama's evidence stateside.


The Chief High Court Judge, Justice Geoffrey Venning, convened an urgent telephone conference this morning to deal with the application.

Dotcom, with several others, is battling extradition to the US to stand trial for alleged copyright breaches over his former website Megaupload.

He argued that Obama can give evidence directly material to his proceeding, the purpose of the US' prosecution against him and its dealings with New Zealand authorities.

In December, Dotcom filed a claim against the New Zealand and US Governments for pursuing and maintaining an erroneous arrest warrant and misleading the New Zealand court which granted it.

In an FBI-ordered raid, police used the anti-terrorist Special Tactics Group in a helicopter assault on his Coatesville mansion in 2012.

Kim Dotcom pictured during a hearing in the Auckland District Court. Photo / Nick Reed
Kim Dotcom pictured during a hearing in the Auckland District Court. Photo / Nick Reed

However, Dotcom conceded that in the absence of a court order it was unlikely Obama would give evidence, while it was not practical to obtain a subpoena order before a trial date had been allocated.

But there was no other witness currently in New Zealand competent like Obama to give evidence on the matter, Dotcom argued.

Justice Venning said even if Obama held relevant information and was compellable as a witness, it would be necessary for him to prepare for any such examination and review relevant documents and materials from his time as President.


The judge continued: "On the material presently before the court I am not satisfied that the evidence Mr Obama could give would be of relevance."

He said Obama's perceived evidence comes from "Dotcom's construct that Hollywood was a major benefactor of the Democratic Party in the United States and that, in his opinion, the action against Megaupload and him met the United States' need to appease the Hollywood lobby".

Former US President Barack Obama spent today playing golf at Kauri Cliffs. Photo / Twitter
Former US President Barack Obama spent today playing golf at Kauri Cliffs. Photo / Twitter

The high point of the evidence Obama may have any knowledge of is based on hearsay from a Wellington lawyer and lobbyist who told Dotcom that "President Obama was dissatisfied with the way it had been handled", Justice Venning said.

He said Dotcom's application was "premature" and that Obama's evidence will be relevant "appears at best speculative".

After the decision, Dotcom said he was disappointed but told the Herald he was excited about several other pending legal judgments.

"There are many battlefields in my case and we are working tirelessly to get the truth.

"Both my legal team and I are confident that there will be no extradition and that we will soon be able to switch from defence to offence."

He also said on Twitter: "The judgment is no surprise and we'll get the opportunity to question Obama sooner or later."