Official documents reveal a man accused of global internet piracy was given approval to buy a multimillion-dollar property by a New Zealand government agency and a minister before it was overturned.
Kim Dotcom, co-founder of the file sharing site Megaupload, is on bail while United States authorities seek his extradition. He was arrested on 20 January this year and faces a number of charges, including internet piracy, copyright infringement and wire fraud.[image:4784:third:right]
In November 2010, the German national was granted New Zealand residency despite earlier convictions in his homeland.
Papers released under the Official Information Act show that Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson signed off documents allowing Mr Dotcom to purchase three properties, including the house he leases in Coatesville near Auckland.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) and Mr Williamson were satisfied that Mr Dotcom was of good character and should be given consent to buy the sprawling mansion.
The papers reveal he was also given consent to buy a luxurious lifestyle block and a beach in the Far North.
The Associate Finance Minister at the time, Simon Power, overruled the OIO and Mr Williams, disapproving all three applications because of Mr Dotcom's previous dishonesty offences and concern that he could bring New Zealand into disrepute.
The documents show Mr Williamson later supported that decision.