Dotcom may soon be free to buy mansion

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 14:55 29/11/2012
dotcom mansion
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

DOTCOM HQ: Kim Dotcom's leased $30 million Coatesville mansion.

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Internet millionaire Kim Dotcom could soon be free to buy the $30 million Dotcom mansion - because extradition proceedings have forced him to stay in New Zealand.

An application by the German mogul to buy the Coatesville property was turned down last year, because the Government said he did not pass a required 'good character' test.

But because he has been a permanent resident since 2010 - with no periods of absences this year - he will soon no longer need consent from the Overseas Investment Office.

His arrest in January, on internet piracy charges, has forced him to remain in the country while he fights extradition to the US.

However, it remains to be seen if he will make a fresh bid to buy the sprawling property - once home to Christco founders Richard and Ruth Bradley - because his assets have been frozen.

Land information minister Maurice Williamson, who has responsibility for the OIO, today confirmed Dotcom will soon qualify to buy the house - if he has the cash.

"If you are a resident who have been resident for a fixed period of time without breaking that - I understand after 12 months of being fixed - you no longer qualify under the OIO," he said.

"So I think by virtue of his incarceration and his being held he will now reach an eligibility point to be able to buy as he wishes as a New Zealander."

The OIO website says someone must dwell permanently in the country for the immediately preceding 12 months. The Overseas Investment Act provides that they must not be absent for more than 183 days in aggregate.

Dotcom was granted a residence visa in November 2010 under the Immigration Act 1987, Investor Plus category, because he pledged to invest $10m in the country.

His residency status proved a headache for the Government Security Communications Bureau when they realised they were illegally spying on him. The agency is only permitted to track foreigners.

Former Justice minister Simon Power declined Dotcom's OIO application last July because he had been fined for insider trading in Hong Kong. Williamson had initially approved the tycoon's bid.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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