Bodyguard backs Dotcom's account
Kim Dotcom's former security chief has confirmed that John Banks asked for a political donation in the form of two $25,000 cheques so it could be kept anonymous.
In the High Court at Auckland yesterday, Wayne Tempero confirmed the internet mogul's account of his offer to donate to Banks' 2010 mayoral campaign at Dotcom's Coatesville mansion.
Tempero said Banks had explained that it was "better to make the donation anonymous so he could help [Dotcom] in the future".
He said Dotcom had been "surprised" at the request as he "didn't mind putting his name on the cheque".
Banks is on trial on charges of "transmitting a return of electoral expenses knowing that it is false in a material particular".
The charge relates to three entries in the electoral returns for Banks' failed mayoral campaign that were recorded as anonymous.
The Crown says Banks knew two donations of $25,000 were from Dotcom and one of $15,000 was from SkyCity.
Dotcom told the court he offered Banks the $50,000 donation at a lunch at his home.
"He looked very surprised. They [Banks and Tempero] both had big eyes," Dotcom said.
Dotcom said he ordered a cheque prepared then and there, but Banks asked for it to be split into two cheques of $25,000.
Banks told him if it was split he could keep it anonymous.
Dotcom said he expected nothing for the donation, but he thought Banks was a friend and he would have a good network of connections for his future business endeavours.
The internet entrepreneur said he later spoke to Banks on the phone and Banks said he had received the donation, "thank you very much".
Banks offered to help him with his residency application, though Dotcom said he rejected this after consulting his lawyers.
Dotcom said that after the donation, Banks told him he would talk to then minister Maurice Williamson about Dotcom's Overseas Investment Office application to buy three properties.
Under cross-examination from David Jones, QC, Dotcom admitted he had several previous criminal convictions for computer hacking and data espionage in 1994 and for insider trading when he was in his mid-20s.
In a fiery exchange, Jones said Dotcom was a "liar" and the allegation that Banks told him to split the cheques to keep them anonymous was false.
Dotcom strenuously denied that he was lying.
Jones said Dotcom was unhappy with the Government and knew Banks held a crucial seat in Parliament. He accused Dotcom of revising his story to destroy the MP. Dotcom denied the allegation.
Campaign treasurer Lance Hutchison told the court that Banks was "an honest man" and "a man of integrity".
Meanwhile, Auckland police said they had arrested a man who allegedly threw a bucket of manure over Banks outside court on Monday.
The 78-year-old had been charged with common assault.