Banks knew about 'anonymous' Dotcom donation - reports
Friday 27 Apr 2012 4:39 p.m.
By John Campbell
Kim Dotcom is the latest person to have been found to have allegedly donated money anonymously to John Banks.
It is already known that in the race to be super city mayor, Sky City donated $15,000 each to the two front runners.
Len Brown listed Sky City as a donor but Mr Banks did not.
Campbell Live was interested in that because we had heard Kim Dotcom had made a donation three times that size to the John Banks mayoralty campaign.
Campbell Live has even been told Mr Banks was so grateful that he called Dotcom to thank him for it.
An investigation found that like the Sky City donation, the Dotcom donation appears to be listed as anonymous.
The question is why?
The Dotcom camp is adamant Banks knew the money was from them.
Mr Banks declined to do an on-camera interview, but it does seem that he did not always decline invitations concerning Kim Dotcom.
Footage from Dotcom’s birthday party shows him telling visitors to raise their glasses as he proposes a toast to the Megaupload millionaire and his family.
Banks has admitted that he visited the Dotcom mansion.
What is in dispute, however, is how many times.
Kim Dotcom says the birthday party was not the only occasion Mr Banks visited, saying he once sent his helicopter into Auckland to collect Mr Banks from the central city landing strip at Mechanic's Bay, and fly him out to the Dotcom Mansion.
But Mr Banks does not remember whether that happened or not.
“I don’t remember that,” Mr Banks says.
When pressed on whether or not he had ever taken a helicopter to the Dotcom mansion, Mr Banks remained vague.
“I can’t recall whether I did or not,” he says.
Mr Banks was also a guest at a special waterfront party hosted by Dotcom to welcome in the New Year on January 1, 2011.
Dotcom had paid for a fireworks display for Auckland to celebrate his New Zealand residency. There have been few bigger fireworks displays in New Zealand.
At that point Mr Banks was no longer Mayor of Auckland, having been defeated by Len Brown.
After the party was over, Mr Banks and his wife, Amanda, warmly farewelled and thanked Dotcom and his wife Mona, and they all hugged each other.
There was also a hug for Wayne Tempero, head of Dotcom security. The men clearly knew each other. Arrangements were made for the following week.
No numbers were exchanged – clearly they already had each other’s numbers.
Dotcom says that when Mr Banks was running for the Mayoralty, he had raised the subject of campaign donations with the German millionaire.
Dotcom, who gave $HK1 million to the Christchurch earthquake relief fund, was a generous benefactor - and says he immediately offered Mr Banks $50,000.
Dotcom says Mr Banks gratefully accepted his offer, but Dotcom also says Mr Banks asked for the donation to be split into two payments of $25,000 each.
Mr Banks says he does not remember who gave him money.
“Well, I don’t know. I mean I haven’t seen the forms now for a couple of years, so I don’t know who gave me money, I can’t remember now,” says Mr Banks.
He also says he could not remember discussing money with Dotcom and his team.
“Well I met with them, I know them, but I can’t recall discussing money with them.”
There are no donations from Kim Dotcom or anyone associated with him listed anywhere in the papers for Mr Banks’ mayoralty campaign.
However, there are five anonymous donations of $25,000.
The Dotcom camp believes two of them were theirs.
Now, there is nothing wrong with that, at all.
But as with the Sky City donation Mr Banks received, there is a contention that he knew where some of this money was from, so it was not actually anonymous.
Mr Banks was interviewed by 3 News about the Sky City donation yesterday.
“I welcome this enquiry by the electoral officer, no problems, nothing to hide, nothing to fear,” said Mr Banks at the time.
Dotcom has not heard from Mr Banks since he was arrested and Banks' relationship with him appears to be on hold.
Dotcom could do with some friends in high places now. The kind of mate for example who proposes a toast at your birthday party.
Did Mr Banks know Dotcom had made two of these donations?
If he did, and recorded them as anonymous – he is in breach of the Local Electoral Act.
The act clearly says, “anonymous... means a donation that is made in such a way that the candidate concerned does not know who made the donation”.
But Mr Banks appears not to remember what happened.
His problem may be, that Dotcom, and others in his team, say they have very good memories of it all.