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Dotcom donations complaints laid against Banks, police confirm

UPDATE: Auckland police confirm two complaints have been laid against ACT leader John Banks, over donations from internet tycoon Kim Dotcom.

Auckland city police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty says the complaints related to claims made by Mr Dotcom about donations he made to Mr Banks's Super City mayoral campaign.

Today's complaints follow two made on Friday over a $15,000 donation allegedly made by Sky City to Mr Banks for the same campaign.

"The two complaints received today will be collated in the same file and they are all being dealt with by the same officer," Ms Hegarty says.

She confirmed the two people who made complaints today were the same people who referred the Sky City matter to police on Friday.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard has complained to Auckland Council's chief electorate officer Bruce Thomas, and asked for the matter to be referred to police.

In his letter to Mr Thomas, Mr Mallard says: "Mr Banks appears to be at fault knowingly not declaring the original donation, transmitting a false return and subsequently not admitting to and rectifying the mistake.

"The inference is that this was done to hide Mr Banks' link to Mr Dotcom."

Sky City's donation was listed as anonymous on Mr Banks' electoral return. The casino donated the same amount to Mr Banks' rival, Len Brown.

The Electoral Commission is reviewing contributions to Mr Banks' campaign.

Any donation over $1000 must be declared within 55 days of an election.

Politicians must state who made a donation if they know who made it. It is not illegal for a politician to discuss with potential donors the fact that a future donation could be made anonymously (see the Electoral Commission's quick summary of donation rules here).

'Nothing untoward'
On Saturday, alleged internet pirate Kim Dotcom claimed Mr Banks asked for a $50,000 donation to be split into two parts so it could be made anonymously.

The request was made in April 2010 in the run-up to the Super City mayoral race, Mr Dotcom said.

ACT Party president Chris Simmons told NBR ONLINE his leader had given him assurances over the donation - probably the same assurances Mr Banks had given Prime Minister John Key.

"John has my full confidence."

Mr Simmons says: "That's what the law allows and we feel very comfortable that it's nothing untoward at all."

Stand down and shut up - Hide
Mr Banks has dismissed the Dotcom issue as a "sideshow".

However, ACT leader Rodney Hide has called on Mr Banks to stand down as a minister in the National-led government.

On Sunday, Mr Hide - who was rolled as ACT leader last year - told NBR ONLINE the allegations were serious and need to be cleared up as quick as possible.

"Mr Banks needs to stand down as minister, work with the police, and shut up until the until the investigation is completed," Mr Hide said.

 "He needs to stand down to save the Prime Minister the embarrassment of having a minister under police investigation."

Humbug - Banks

Mr Banks was in no mood to shut up on the donation issue on Sunday morning.

"I think you think I came up the river on a cabbage boat," he told Q&A host Paul Holmes.

"I can tell you when I signed my declaration for the mayoralty, I signed it in good faith in the knowledge it was true and correct. I have nothing to fear and nothing to hide and I welcome the [Electoral Commission] inquiry."

The ACT leader added, "It's a sideshow. It's mostly a media beat up and most of it is humbug."

Mr Banks has been open about visiting Kim Dotcom at his rented Chrisco Mansion, and broadcast video footage taken after the close of the mayoral campaign shows Mr Banks toasting Mr Dotcom at the German's birthday last year (Mr Dotcom's birthday is January 21 - the date was chosen this year by law enforcement authorities for the mansion raid because co-accused had arrived from around the world for a party).

Kim Dotcom has told media he sent a helicopter to Mechanics Bay in central Auckland to ferry Mr Banks to the Megaupload millionaire's mansion in Coatesville. Mr Banks has said he can't recall if this happened, or not.

But asked by Mr Holmes for a yes or no answer on whether Kim Dotcom had raised the possibility of a $50,000 donation during their April 2010 meeting, Mr Banks would only reiterate he signed his return in good faith and that "it would all come out in the wash" in the inquiry (watch the interview here).

PM stands by Banks

Opposition parties have also called for Mr Banks to step aside during the inquiry.

Mr Banks is Minister of Regulatory Reform and Small Business, and Associate Minister of Education and Associate Minister of Commerce.

Prime Minister John Key said today he would not be standing Mr Banks down.

Mr Key said there was no evidence, only accusations. People making the allegations were free to test them with the police.

All attempts to regulate donations flawed

Otago University political science lecturer Dr Bryce Edwards told NBR ONLINE that the loophole in the law allowing for anonymous donations should probably be closed - and to avoid above-the-threshold donations being split into two or more cheques, a complete ban on anonymity would be needed.

He noted, "Back in 2000, the then National Party president John Collinge said, ‘I think that if you’re going to make donations publishable, then you should disallow a device that enables you to hide where those donations come from’.

"That sentiment is entirely logical. It has always appeared that the exemption in the electoral law for anonymous donations has been a self-serving loophole for political parties."

However, he also noted that "all attempts to regulate political donations will have flaws and weaknesses that mean that the public can never really be confident that the laws around political finance provide a true picture of where politicians obtain their money from".

If anonymous donations were banned, there would be other legal avenues for wealthy individuals to provide parties and politicians with funding without being detected.

"For example, parties can direct donations through bogus business ventures," Dr Edwards said.

"According to rules outlined by the Electoral Commission, ‘People who pay to attend a fund-raising event will generally be paying for goods or services rather than making a donation’ and hence are not subject to the disclosure regulations.

"Political parties can therefore hold fundraising events, such as a dinner function with the attendance of party leaders, to which entry would require a large amount of money, and this would be deemed a business transaction rather than a political contribution."

Mr Banks said on TVNZ's Q+A programme yesterday the issue is a "sideshow".

More by Chris Keall and David Williams

Comments and questions

Someone clearly hasn't gotten over the loss of the ACT leadership. Hide might have rights to feel aggrieved about losing the leadership to Dr Bumble, but it's his own damn fault for not managing the ACT caucus properly, or watching his own spending on travel.

Banks sounds like ROB P. I dont remem ber OR it must have slipped my mind OR it was so long a go .YEAH RIGHT

Sounds like its going to turn out as the Prime Minister has often said in his tenure "He made a MISTAKE "
In my day if one made a mistake one got the sack and onto finding a new job simply because its become obvious to ones employer one didn't know the job.

In banks case YEAH RIGHT is about exactly right it OK with what one can get away with.
Its time as nation we stood up these figure heads enough is enough

Banks is "toast".
Now is the chance for ACT to stop naval gazing, get rid of ALL "yesterdays men" and get a real ACT believer primed & ready for the by-election. Only deal with Nats should be; that if the ACT candidate wins, ACT will honour the coalition agreement.

In goodfellas-speak: "Banks is gone".

Yet another shabby, pathetic episode in NZ politics.

Why are most of our politicians so dumb and incapable of keeping themselves out of trouble?

Barely a week goes by without some demonstration of sleaze and or incompetence.

Do we really have the leaders we deserve?

Time for John Key to show some integrity and fire Banks as a Minister - teagate or no teagate that is what a strong Prime Minister would do - and John Key is currently trying to be a strong Prime Minister - so be consistent John.

The public are rumbling in the background John about your recent performance and this saga needs decisiveness not procrastination.

After the immense damage Hide did to the ACT party by hypocritically courting his girlfriend on an overseas trip funded by the taxpayer, I think perhaps it's him who needs to keep his mouth shut.

Haven't you done enough damage already Rodney, or is it you intention to finish ACT off this time (if you haven't done so already)?

Who needs the Labour & Green party's when ACT has Hide & Coddington to throw them to the wolves at every opportunity, out of spite that they couldn't get their own way. You two spoilt, selfish jerks need to think about what's best for the country & the ACT party, not your own personal vendettas & agendas.

My thoughts exactly, BUT what can we do??

Are we as a nation too lenient to white collar crimes?

Goes without saying that the criminal justice system is in serious need of reform. Where are all the lawyers lobbying for tighter laws and stiffer penalties?

You expect the lawyers to slay the chooks that lay them the golden eggs?

Banks has to go.

John Banks should be fired

...and bring back Rodney Hide

I am sick and tired of hearing Rodney Hide white ant John Banks, whether it is on Radio Live or the HOS and now this. Rodney led the party to near oblivion, not even superman could have saved it. I don't like losers who come across as bitter.

Go Kim Dotcom

You help people - and they drop you like a brick when you need them most...

Banks can now take your bed at Mt Eden prison.

Karma Dude

More ammunition for those who argue for the much needed overhaul of our electoral system.

Light weight interview, too busy thinking about the price of olive oil, I would have told Banks to answer the question straight or get off the show, instead he got to brown nose Bill English twice and bag interest free student loans as if that what stood between economic ruin and success, this from a guy who admits to only ever seeing five movies in his life, sorry ACT but you have scored the greatest home goal in NZ political history getting that guy in.

If John Banks had 'nothing to hide' - then why did he hide the alleged $50,000 donation from Kim Dotcom?

I've checked his 2010 Auckland Mayoral returns for myself, and on Friday 27 April (along with 2007 Auckland Mayoral candidate Lisa Prager) lodged a written complaint with the Police over Bank's alleged failure to disclose a $15,000 donation from Sky City.

Tomorrow, Monday 30 April 2012 at 2pm, myself and Lisa Prager will go to Auckland Central Police Station, to make another formal written complaint to Police about the alleged $50,000 donation from Kim Dotcom, and related matters.

If Banks knew from where the donation(s) came - then they were NOT anonymous, and he had a lawful obligation to declare them.

How dodgy is this former National Minister of Police, and current Minister of Regulatory Reform?

How little does his signature mean when he signs off not just dodgy electoral returns but dodgy registered prospectuses that contained untrue statements?

(Huljich Kiwisaver Scheme Registered Prospectuses dated 22 August 2008 and 18 September 2009 - for which he (and Don Brash) former fellow Directors of Huljich Wealth Management (NZ) Ltd, equally signed, along with Peter Huljich, who was charged, convicted and sentenced) .

How long is NZ Prime Minister John Key going to attempt to defend the indefensible?

"Prime Minister John Key said today he would not be standing Mr Banks down.

Mr Key said there was no evidence, only accusations. People making the allegations were free to test them with the police."

How shonky is that?

I have been given the official Police file number for the first complaint, from the Detective Inspector currently in charge of investigating this matter.

Whether this next formal written complaint will be dealt with under the same file number, or separately, will be determined tomorrow, Monday 30 April 2012.

I agree with the former (former) Leader of the ACT Party, Rodney Hide.

"Mr Banks needs to stand down as minister, work with the police, and shut up until the until the investigation is completed," Mr Hide said.

"He needs to stand down to save the Prime Minister the embarrassment of having a minister under police investigation."

Of course - for former Wall St banker NZ Prime Minister John Key, to take a principled position on this matter, given his previous 'insider trader' track record with TranzRail, is probably a bit much to expect?

All this happening in NZ - perceived to be the least corrupt country in the world?

yeah right.....

Penny Bright
'Anti-corruption campaigner'

Labour smokescreen for the fact the Labour so-called “leader” is about to be rolled sometime very, very soon – perhaps this week even.

If Penny Bright is so concerned about “Anti-Corruption” she could always “investigate” the very dodgy “related-party” financing of the Labour Party by the Unions – who are in breach of numerous legal / financial requirements regarding their yearly financial reporting/returns – some over 7 years late, others over 6 years late and still not filed.

Why are the authorities and the MSM not investigating the stolen/misappropriated millions siphoned off into dodgy entities that “lose” hundreds of thousands each financial year?

The IRD should bring out their largest probe and highest powered microscope – especially with the Unite union already owing over $152K in unpaid / stolen taxes over years and years to the accumulated amount of over $150K.

With the highly questionable, dodgy goings on in Australian unions / Labor party and the old adage that birds of feather… where there’s smoke… one can only imagine the rorting / corruption goings on here in NZ. There’s millions of dollars unaccounted for in the unions financial reportings – where are the missing millions?

There’s some highly questionable “related-party” transactions happening- in the public domain – that needs an independent, judicial enquiry and the disinfectant of brilliant sunshine to bring some credibility back into our Parliamentary systems and processes that Labour / unions have brought into whiffy ill-repute.

Penny. Get real and get a real job. you are a pathetic loser.

Penny doesn't like him, so he must be good

Ahh, Banks and Key are setting an incredible precedent. If Rod Petricevic had been a Minister of this govt it would seem that he would still be in Parliament and not a guest of Her Majesty. The perks of office and a leader with no integrity. So much for Venning J's Rule of Law.

There is a certain pleasure (the Germans have a good word for it) in watching this ragbag party tearing at each others throats again,

Schadenfreude! The word is schadenfreude, and there is a saying that goes with it "Wer zuletzt lacht, lacht am Besten." Kim will know it.

sadly the police will do nothing!

Let's have that bye election that Brash wanted. Now. And get rid of these far right idiots once and for all. Epsom - have u come to your senses yet?????

Resign. Slippery, manipulative and now seemingly corrupt. ACT are just a useless shower of self seeking fascists and should be removed from the nz political landscape immediately

If he had nothing to hide - why did he hide the donations by declaring anonymous?

On the other hand it seems Dotcom is causing trouble. Given this is how he rolls over a $50k donation what kind of a royal pain in the ass might he be over the $10m in govt bonds he bought.
This guy openly flaunts breaking the law now he is wasting our weekend b/c he doesnt feel he got bang for his $50k bucks.
Weve got bigger issues and so does he.

why is it that banks and controversy are always in the same room??? could it be that he is simply dodgy???? sack him key and show the country you have some integrity, and are not the lap dog for big business

If I give a donation and state I do not want my name attached, that should be honoured. Because if it is not honoured I would not donate. SIMPLE. That should be my choice, in a democratic society. Also why don't people wait for the enquiry, before judging. If Mr Banks is within the law that is the end of it. John Key is quite right in his handling of this Labour beat up, yet again.

Actually in a truly democratic society there would be no political donations at all.
All electioneering would be funded by the state. That's because the state IS the people.

Banks is hiding behind the letter of the law, rather than the intent of the law.

Remember the episode with Peter Huljich kiwisaver fund? Banks could not wait to disassociate himself first enough!

Not the sort of person who should be in government - he cannot be trusted to do the right thing by the country.

...but he more than makes up by doing right by himself.

banksie will come out of this cleaner than a freshly groomed poodle - but not sure dotcom will have done himself any favors with his extradition chances ...

ACT = Always Continuously Transparent

Headline should read :

"Hide should stand down and shut up"?

His hide is rather thick, that's for sure!

As an Epsom voter....Banks should go. He is an embarassment to us all.

Common theme for some commentators on this site: if I do not agree with/like someone I will assume adverse allegations about them (regardless of source) should be accepted as facts and prosecuted accordingly. Yet if someone made a groundless allegation about such a commentator I am sure they would not like to be judged as presumed guilty in the same manner.


Poor Mr Key who presumably is just not used to the fallibiity of politicians not to say their lack of understanding of professional behaviour.Mr Banks does not deserve cuckolding and his stupid teacup meeting was a lust for power event and an example of his flawed motives.Epsom voters can look forward to another voting chance and Mr Key may well carry the day anyway on the back of his personal profile but he must be getting tired of carrying the load.

As soon as one has the 'full confidence' of a colleague you know it's game over.

Difficult to believe that he can't remember getting into a helicopter, and being whisked out to what is probably the biggest mansion in NZ and being met by a flamboyant man with a German accent.

I think it is fair to expect people in power to have a more thorough command of memory when it comes to their own actions.

he remembers all right its as one always suspected one law for some and another for most of us .banks comes from making millions from peoples misery the biggest drug pusher of them all alcohol one doese not hear that in the media He should be treated as such, along with the capels and friends .the problem kiwis memories are too short

Wouldn’t it be nice if those elected to govern did just that? Little, Mallard, Shearer, et-al love these little bits as it takes the focus away from their ineptitude in that they have no policy other than that of finding something that wont help the country and focusing on it. If Bank knew, did not know, who really cares, we have far more important things to focus on that this piece of trivia. A please to all elected members, do what you were elected for, look at ways to improve the lot of all New Zealanders, take a moment lift your head from the trough and find something positive to do & say. I know that’s asking a lot of the Little & Duck , but do try, you may actually do something that will make us all proud.

Banks has always been a greedy man, full of half-truths and bully-boy tactics. Imagine him actually thinking that he can get away with saying he does not rememebr someone sending a helicopter to pick him up. John Key, another dishonest trader/commission on sales' sees nothing untoward!!

All donations should be made public. Voters deserve nothing less than full transparency in how their elected officials get their money.

Rodney's wish for Banks to stand down and shut is an oxymoron and why Bill Ralston can't see this defies belief.

Banks speaks and thinks in Times Roman 24pt bold, even when he's addressing the inconsequential (often).

There is an old Testament metaphor which accurately personfies Banks: "a sounding gong and a clanging symbol"

In other words a loud mouth in everyway.

Banks 'forgot' that he'd asked for the $50k to be split into two payments to get around the law? Then he 'forgot' that he'd rung Dotcom to say thanks? Should a man with such a poor memory be allowed into parliament?

Sack the bugger...

Democracy - 1
Banks - 0


SECOND COMPLAINT TO POLICE over 2010 Mayoral Election and allegation of a false return made by the now Hon John BANKS :


30 April 2012

Detective Inspector Mark Benefield,
Field Crime Manager Auckland City District

RE: File 120427/9334

Dear Detective Inspector Mark Benefield,


COMPLAINANTS: Penny Bright –
Lisa Prager ..


On Friday 27 April 2012, you formally acknowledged our complaint under the Local Electoral Act 2001 (LEA) ,
'in respect to the 2010 Mayoral Election and allegation of a false return made by the now Hon John BANKS
in respect of his returns under section 109 LEA'.

You advised that at this point in time, that you would be our 'point of contact' and that for future reference
'File 120427/9334 refers'.

This morning (Monday 30 April 2012), I rang you to advise that at 2pm both myself, Penny Bright and
Lisa Prager intended to come to Auckland Central Police Station to file a further written complaint, alleging John Banks knowingly filed a false electoral return regarding $50,000 allegedly donated by Kim Dotcom, about which there has been considerable recent publicity.

The basis of this allegation is as has been reported on the front page of the New Zealand Herald, Saturday
26 April 2012:

"Act leader John Banks asked for a $50,000 political donation to be split into two parts so it could be made anonymously, says Kim Dotcom and one other witness.

Dotcom said the request was made on April 15, 2010, when Mr Banks was preparing to campaign for the Auckland mayoralty.

He said there were at times three other people in the room while the donation was discussed - and Mr Banks rang later to thank him for it.

The allegation comes after police were asked to investigate Mr Banks' listing of a $15,000 donation from SkyCity as "anonymous".


The pair first met in April 2010 when Dotcom sent his helicopter to collect Mr Banks from Mechanics Bay in downtown Auckland.

Dotcom said the pair met in the mansion, sitting at a large square table, and chatted.

Bodyguard Wayne Tempero was present, as was one of Dotcom's butlers. His company chief financial officer also attended briefly.

"He mentioned the elections were coming up [and] he was raising money for his campaign," Dotcom said. "He said it was hard to raise money in New Zealand, the mayoral campaign was coming up and he's trying to raise funds for that.

"I kind of liked the guy. I said, 'I'm happy to help.' I told Wayne to write a cheque for $50,000.

"His [Mr Banks'] eyes got a little bit bigger at that moment."

Mr Tempero asked the chief financial officer to come into the room to write the cheque.

"John said, 'Wait a minute'," Dotcom recalled last night. "'It would be good if you could split it up into two payments of 25 [thousand dollars], then I don't declare publicly who made it'."

Dotcom said one cheque was made out in his own name, or the name of his company Megastuff Ltd, and the other in Mr Tempero's name.

"He [Mr Banks] called me a few days after the cheques entered his bank account and he thanked me personally."

(A sample of recent 'mainstream media' coverage of this issue - which confirms the considerable 'public interest').

You advised that it would not be necessary to present this complaint in person, and that it would suffice to send this further complaint by email.

You also advised that the status of a complaint to Police which had a 'file number' meant that it was awaiting to be assigned to someone to investigate.


The alleged failure of 2010 Auckland Mayoral candidate John Banks to declare a $50,000 donation, which was allegedly split into two $25,000 cheques, (allegedly at the request of John Banks); made out in the names of Kim Dotcom (or the name of his company Megastuff Ltd), and the other allegedly made out in the name Mr Wayne Tempero, (Kim Dotcom's bodyguard).

That as this $50,000 donation was made in such a way that John Banks did know who made it - it was NOT 'anonymous' and should have been declared, in a proper way, as per statutory requirements of s.109 (1) (b) of the Local Electoral Act 2001.

109Return of electoral expenses
(1)Within 55 days after the day on which the successful candidates at any election are declared to be elected, every
candidate at the election must transmit to the electoral officer a return setting out—

(a)the candidate's electoral expenses; and

(b)the name and address of each person who made an electoral donation to the candidate and the amount of
each electoral donation; ...


The statutory duties arising from the Local Electoral Act 2001 are as follows:

109 Return of electoral expenses
(1)Within 55 days after the day on which the successful candidates at any election are declared to be elected, every
candidate at the election must transmit to the electoral officer a return setting out—

(a)the candidate's electoral expenses; and

(b)the name and address of each person who made an electoral donation to the candidate and the amount of
each electoral donation; and

(c)if an electoral donation of money or of the equivalent of money is made to the candidate anonymously and the amount
of that donation exceeds $1,000,—
(i)the amount of that donation; an
(ii)the fact that it has been received anonymously.

(2)Every return under subsection (1) must be in the form prescribed in Schedule 2 or to similar effect.

Part 1 Preliminary provisions

5 Interpretation
(1)In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—
anonymous, in relation to an electoral donation (as defined in section 104), means a donation that is made in such a way that the candidate concerned does not know who made the donation


134 False return
(1)Every candidate commits an offence who transmits a return of electoral expenses knowing that it is false in any material particular, and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to a fine not
exceeding $10,000.


Please acknowledge receipt of this (further) complaint, by email, at your earliest possible convenience.

Please can you also advise by when it expected that the Police will assign the person who will be tasked with investigating these complaints re: File 120427/9334

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

Lisa Prager

wow this is cool

Epsom needed better than it got . but the nats;stuffed it up .NOW is the time for JOHN KEY to show he has got BALLS .get rid of BANKS

RAID Banks' house/office with military force and grab/freeze everything chuck him in jail until an elongated legal process has been completed

Banks lack of memory matches his lack of ability and no scruples.
He's toast, surprised it took so long to find out about the two cheques.
Full marks Kit.


Detective Inspector Mark Benefield has just confirmed that Police have assigned someone to investigate the complaints made against John Banks for alleged false electoral returns arising from the 2010 Auckland Mayoral campaign.

(The alleged $15,000 Sky City donation, and $50,000 allegedly donated by Kim Dotcom).

So -- now that John Banks is under Police investigation - what is Prime Minister John Key going to do?

Penny Bright
'Anti-corruption campaigner'.

squeeky wheel might be getting oil this time

Is Banks a Sky City ambassador with a swipe card which provides free F & B? I think so!

I've always been a fan of Banksie, but he has insulted my intelligence by claiming memory loss. Absolute poppycock. John, you are either a) a liar b) suffering from dementia c) your testosterone count is low which can affect memory d) all of the aforementioned. In any instance, I no longer believe you are fit for office. Please close the door on the way out.

Yawn I really don,t care as long as this doesn't open the door for Labour to some how get back in. Now, that would be bad for NZ.

Wow, it seem like, it's his legal right to just don't remember. Is that how he defend himself? Perhaps he should just step down since he has problem with his memory in the first place.

John Banks is a dishonest man, who typies those that supposedly are 'on the political right' - as greedy, manipulative and self-serving. It is amzing that Banks can remember that he did not call Dotcom to thank him but cannot remember if he flew in a helicopter or met Dotcom at his mansion. It is a shame that ACT have lost their way and now no longer have the moral authority to represent consumers and taxpayers - instead they have become a puppy dog to the national party.

Amazing! I never knew how cheap it was to sell off our national security to organised crime.