Dotcom and citizenship

During yesterday’s Internet Party the Candidate selection Kim Dotcom announced that he would seek New Zealand citizenship and stand for Parliament in 2017.

Dotcom to stand for Parliament in 2017

The German internet mogul said he would definitely considering running for Parliament if he gained citizenship, ideally before the 2017 general election.

“I would love to but this is not the time. Maybe at some time in the future when I have citizenship.”

I don’t know what the chances are of Dotcom getting citizenship but it seems unlikely it would be granted with the extradition and US legal action still pending.

Requirements for a Grant of New Zealand Citizenship

You may be eligible for a grant of New Zealand citizenship if you:

Good Character

You need to be of good character. 

How is the requirement assessed?
To determine whether you are of good character the Minister will consider the answers you have given in your application. We will also complete background checks with the New Zealand Police and other agencies. Things that are taken into account include:

  • criminal convictions;
  • infringements;
  • having an active protection order against you;
  • any other information received from other agencies.

Except in very rare circumstances, you will be disqualified from meeting the good character requirement if:

  • you have been in prison for five years or more; or
  • you have been sentenced to an indefinite term of imprisonment capable of running for five years or more; or
  • within the previous seven years you were subject to a sentence of imprisonment of less than five years; or
  • within the previous three years you were convicted of an offence but did not receive a sentence of imprisonment.

Pending charges
If you have committed any offence against the law of New Zealand or another country for which you have not yet been sentenced in court you may not meet the good character requirement. 

Overseas police clearance
You may be asked to provide a police clearance from overseas if you have spent a long time outside New Zealand in the past twelve years. Generally, clearances may be requested if you have been settled in a place outside New Zealand for:

  • four or more months during the previous three years; or
  • twelve or more months during the previous four to twelve year period (with New Zealand residency); or
  • four months or more during the processing of your citizenship application; or
  • four months or more after approval and before attending a ceremony.

However, overseas police clearances may still be requested from you even if your situation does not meet the general guidelines above. This will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Please Note: The Clean Slate scheme only applies to convictions in New Zealand. Any conviction you may have received outside New Zealand must be disclosed.

According to Die Welt on Kim Schmitz/Dotcom:

After 9/11, Schmitz offered a $10-million reward on the Internet to anyone who provided information leading to the capture of Osama Bin Laden. That initiative did not meet with success, but the same year Schmitz promised the ailing firm 50 million euros to get it back on its feet. As news of this spread, it ended up resulting in the biggest turnover ever registered in a single day in the history of the Frankfurt stock exchange. He then sold his shares in the company for a record sum. When the district attorney’s office started investigations for insider trading, Schmitz legged it to Thailand.

He was arrested in Bangkok in January 2002 after he announced he would be committing suicide live on the Internet. He was convicted of insider trading and sentenced to a year and eight months of prison.


He was deported back to Germany where he pleaded guilty to embezzlement in November 2003 and, after five months in jail awaiting trial, again received a suspended sentence (of 20 months). After avoiding a prison sentence for a second time, he left Germany and moved to Hong Kong in late 2003.

That would appear to be outside the twelve year limit, especially if it’s a year or two before he applies, so may not be taken into account.

There was a further seemingly minor conviction in Hong Kong 2011, just after he was granted New Zealand residency.

On Oct. 26, 2010, an immigration manager, Gareth Grigg, sent a memo to a colleague saying that he’d been advised by Cooper that “Mr. Dotcom wants a decision on his application by 1 November 2010 or he will walk away” and consider his residency options in Australia or Canada.

He noted Dotcom’s charitable contributions, but also noted in a section titled “Risks” that: “Mr. Dotcom may be seen to be controlling the processing of his application;” that he may “attract ‘buying residence’ criticism;” and that proceeding with the application without all the outstanding information “may amount to Mr. Dotcom being afforded special treatment because of his wealth.”

Nevertheless, six days later — on Dotcom’s November 1 deadline — New Zealand immigration officials decided to grant him residency.

Two months after he was granted residency, Dotcom was convicted in Hong Kong on several counts of failing to disclose his shareholding levels to the Securities and Futures Commission, and was fined 8000 Hong Kong dollars. New Zealand immigration authorities decided the convictions were too minor to consider deporting Dotcom.

(Sydney Morning Herald)

Before that comes into consideration Dotcom has to deal with his extradition to the US.

Update: Further to this, Dotcom has convictions for insider trading in Kong Kong.

Dotcom had been previously convicted of insider trading and computer hacking in Germany, but these convictions were wiped under Germany’s clean slate legislation.

However, in official documents from Immigration New Zealand released yesterday, it has been revealed that in December 2010, Dotcom was facing eight charges relating to the purchase of shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Immigration New Zealand was advised a month later that Dotcom had been convicted on the charges and fined HK$8000 (NZ$1250), Radio New Zealand reports.

The documents show that under the Immigration Act, because of his convictions, the default position is that Dotcom would not have been eligible for residency.

However, this position can be overridden by a special direction from a senior official, which is what happened in Dotcom’s case.

Immigration New Zealand stood by its decision to grant residency, saying Dotcom’s character issues were outweighed by the benefit of his financial investments in New Zealand.

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  1. Politics Daily | Homepaddock

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