Dotcom threatened to move to Australia or Canada
Wednesday 14 Mar 2012 10:45 a.m.
Kim Dotcom threatened take his money elsewhere unless New Zealand immigration authorities met his deadline (file)
Dotcom, who faces internet piracy charges in the United States over his file-sharing website Megaupload, was granted New Zealand residency in 2010 in exchange for investing $10 million in New Zealand under the Immigration Plus category.
Documents released to the Associated Press show Dotcom set a deadline for immigration officials to approve his application, with a threat that he would otherwise move to Australia or Canada.
On October 26, immigration manager Gareth Grigg sent a memo to a colleague, saying he had been advised by Dotcom's immigration agent David Cooper that "Mr Dotcom wants a decision on his application by 1 November 2010 or he will walk away".
Despite Mr Grigg's warning that "Mr Dotcom may be seen to be controlling the processing of his application" or receiving special treatment, Dotcom's residency was approved on November 1.
Another immigration official wrote that the benefits of Dotcom's investments in New Zealand "outweigh the negative aspects flowing from the applicant's convictions" - including 1998 convictions for computer fraud and dealing in stolen phone cards, and a 2002 conviction for manipulating stock prices.
Two months after being granted residency, Dotcom was convicted in Hong Kong on several counts of failing to disclose his shareholding levels, but officials decided not to deport him.
The documents also reveal immigration officials had been led to believe Dotcom was actually far wealthier than in reality.
Mr Cooper had described Dotcom as a billionaire in his application papers, but the seizure of assets since Dotcom's arrest indicates his wealth was far less than $1 billion.
Dotcom was arrested alongside Megaupload employees Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato on January 20, after a police raid on his Coatesville mansion.
The group are on bail awaiting a hearing on extradition to the United States.