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Dotcom called a liar at John Banks trial

Testy exchanges were made between John Banks' lawyer David Jones QC and witness Kim Dotcom in the Auckland High Court today. 

Mr Dotcom was called to give evidence about his apparent electoral donation to Mr Banks' 2010 mayoral campaign. Much of today's questioning of Mr Dotcom centres on his second meeting with Mr Banks during which Mr Dotcom says he was told to write two separate cheques to make up $50,000 in donations. 

Mr Banks' lawyer questioned Mr Dotcom over his former convictions and actions as a hacker in his youth, to which Mr Dotcom objected.

The internet tycoon was told by Justice Ed Wylie to only answer the questions asked by Mr Banks' lawyer. Mr Dotcom was told to ask for a break if he felt too upset. 

At one point the internet tycoon muttered "I have wondered for some time how all of this is relevant."

"You are a liar, Mr Dotcom," Mr Jones' said, referring to Mr Dotcom's recollections of events at the mansion on the day Mr Dotcom says he ordered for cheques to be made to Mr Banks' campaign. 

"You are wrong," Mr Dotcom retorted.

"It is not appropriate for you to engage in argument with Mr Jones," Justice Wylie told Mr Dotcom. 

Today's hearing has revealed more about Mr Banks' fallout with Mr Dotcom, following several meetings and parties they both attended. Mr Dotcom says Mr Banks had offered to help him with his residency application, which he declined after taking legal advice. Mr Dotcom also says Mr Banks had attempted to help with OIO approval of several properties, which was originally signed off by Maurice Williamson but later fell through. 

Mr Dotcom told the court that following the raid on his home he had asked Mr Banks for help making prison more comfortable. He told the court for a person of his weight sleeping on what was essentially a concrete slab covered by a thin piece of foam was uncomfortable. 

"All I wanted was prison staff to take care of my health and treat me humanely," Mr Dotcom told the court. However, the internet tycoon says Mr Banks did not return his call requesting help in prison, and the two had not spoken since. 

Mr Jones told the court Mr Dotcom was upset with Mr Banks' actions and was manipulating to "reconstruct" what happened at the mansion that day to his liking. 

"I think you are describing the government and not me," Mr Dotcom retorted. 

The trial, expected to last two weeks, is for allegedly filing a false electoral return. The Crown claims Mr Banks filed a false return after the 2010 Auckland mayoral election. Under the local government electoral law at the time, it was an offence to list a donor as anonymous if a candidate knew their identity.

The internet tycoon told the court he offered to make a donation of $50,000 on his second meeting with Mr Banks, during which head of security Wayne Tempero was present. 

"[Mr Banks] looked very surprised, so did Wayne, they both had big eyes, probably because of the amount."

The case continues and is expected to last two weeks. Mr Dotcom's estranged wife, Mona Dotcom, and former head of security Wayne Tempero are yet to give evidence. 

Boag on Banks
Former National Party president Michelle Boag also gave evidence this morning about her involvement in the campaign.

Ms Boag told the court she had known Mr Banks since he first stood for National more than 30 years ago and would count him as a friend, although said they are not close.

The PR consultant described Mr Banks as honest and “very direct and forthright,” as well as generous.

She says her primary responsibility during the campaign was fundraising but was also focused on expenditure and the prescribed legal limits.

As she told the District Court, she might have flicked through the donation records but did not have a complete picture.

Ms Boag says in 2009 the initial targeting of individuals to approach for donations was discussed and involved circling names she identified that she could approach in the NBR Rich List 2008.

She described the targeting as a “team effort” between her, Mr Banks and treasurer Lance Hutchinson.

Ms Boag told the court Mr Banks had not mentioned Mr Dotcom to her while they were seeking donations.

“I never knew who Dotcom was until he was arrested.”

What do you think? Should John Banks have pressed charges against mud-slinger? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

More by Victoria Young

Comments and questions

Dotcom sould be sent back where he belongs. To his own country.
We need to get shot of this virus..........

Dotcom scopes out countries with a history of weak and easy laws for foreigners to get around e.g. residency, property,OIO, work permits, business favours, backdoor listings etc ..
No surprises NZ was the next on his list after Hong Kong.
The timing nor the makeup of the government unimportant in NZ's case at any time over the last 25 years.

Its the ability of politicians to be persuaded by greed and self interest that allows unsavoury characters to settle in New Zealand, Dot Com is not the only one.

If accept that's the case, it begs the question why John Banks would attend Kim Dotcom's party then (allegedly) knowingly accept a $50,000 donation?

What this country needs is to see the back-end of Dotcom.....and Banksie back doing his talk show. And no more mister nice guy!

What happened to all the love, boys?

It just tears me up, seeing the ugly desecreation of what was a beautiful bromance. Why?

Well the Key, English, Collins cluster may be more interesting than you think. Essentially Dotcom and friends are being offered as live payment to the US authorities to allow Key, English, Collins and Tim Grosser, the back seat pilot to continue the drift towards Asia and China. Payoff and Paydirt.
I am not implying anything about Judith and Key are obviously settling for quality meals at restaurants and are doubtlessly totally faithful. Bill as good catholic , clearly likes fresh red meat while , Tim Grosser second marriage appears to have failed. He is apparently now converted to the Islamic religion , a concession to his brief Indonesian wife.
The essence. Dotcom is the tradeoff. expendable collateral to continued the failed experiment started by Savage and Nash in 1933.
Nationals current Peasant support and MP would have doubtlessly voted Commie in those days.

I do not understand this charade of John 'Cannot Recollect' Banks being charged.

How is this different from Winston 'NO' Peters funneling Owen Glenn's donations via trusts etc?

Your headline could equally have been: "Two witnesses testify under oath that Banks is a liar, defence Counsel argues that Dotcom lied."

I suppose when you have a memory like a sieve, you can go around calling everyone a liar.

The Dotcom sequence of events, where he insisted that he was happy for one Cheque to be made out for 50K (with his name on it) just doesnt ring true.

Nobody has asked the obvious question of Dotcom - why was he making the donation in the first place? Perhaps the reason that hasnt been asked is because the answer, and motivation, (as it is for all political donations) is so blatantly obvious.

Dotcom was making the donation to curry political favour and get a favourable ear to his various causes. Dotcom didnt need Banks to explain that it was easier for him to help if it was made anonymously - Dotcom is smart enough to figure that out on his own.

He has also explained in detail what his causes were - OIA and residency assistance.

Why, therefore, would Dotcom be so keen to make his Donations above board, when he knew that would be counterproductive to his intentions? Its a blatant waste of money. Dotcoms nice-guy / Mr-transparency act is laughable. Banksy needs to give his QC a kick up the jacksy and get him to tear KDC apart.

TD - your comments are largely irrelevant as the question is - has an offense been committed by Banks and the answer has to be a resounding YES - he signed the return, he knew a donation from Dotcom was a likelihood and failed to check.As a previous Minister of Police he would know the critical importance of checking facts are correct. The IRD would not accept an explanation that their accountant prepared their tax return and they simply signed it as an excuse for failing to declare ownership and substantial winnings of a racehorse and as law provides that the owner of a vehicle is primarily liable for offenses committed by the vehicle Banks is liable and guilty as charged. A holiday at Mt Eden would be an appropriate response for Banks and JUSTICE requires this albeit the Judge will apply law!!!!!!!1

Rumpole, he may well have know the donation was a likelihood. But not a certainty. It is entirely reasonable that Banks relied on his Treasurer's representation. Your analogy regarding the IRD is moot, since the IRD are the only entity that can claim a person guilty until they prove themselves innocent.

For the prosecution to succeed they need to prove that Banks knew that the return he was signing had 2 donations from dotcom. Unless the donations had some form of identification next to them showing who they were from then the prosecution are out of luck - Banks isn't psychic. Two donations of $25k don't cut it as they could've been from anyone.

Warms the cockles of yer heart, to see David Jones QC paying homage to the late Greg King.
Let's all hope, that Kim Dotcom can keep a modicum of composure under a barrage of non-sequitorial barbs and ad hominen slights from Banksie's I-don't-come-cheap counsel.

"Liar", indeed. Brace yourself, Big Boy. There's more to come. Much more :(