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Banks admits hotel discount, denies Dotcom link

Published: 4:01PM Thursday May 03, 2012 Source: ONE News

Act leader John Banks now admits he got a discounted rate at a hotel in Hong Kong, but says it had nothing to do with Kim Dotcom.

Labour MP Trevor Mallard alleged in Parliament yesterday that Dotcom helped Banks receive a reduced rate duringhis stay at the Hyatt last year.

Banks yesterday denied that and released the bill for his hotel stay which he claimed proved he did not receive a discount.

However today Banks said he did negotiate a discount at the hotel, where Dotcom lived for seven years.

"I always negotiate prices down. I don't believe in paying the rack rate in a hotel," he said.

"It was so expensive, I even paid for it with my wife's credit card."

The amount stated on Banks' bill was $690 a night for the deluxe harbour view room, which the hotel confirmed to ONE News would usually cost up to $1100 a night.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday his chief of staff has received an assurance from Banks that he paid for all expenses on the trip.

Today he said it was "great" that Banks managed to get a better room rate.

Banks has been under fire over his relationship with Dotcom, who the US is seeking to extradite on piracy and money laundering charges.

Police are investigating claims that Banks knew about an anonymous donation from Dotcom to his 2010 Auckland mayoralty campaign, as well as a $15,000 donation from SkyCity.

Banks also confirmed this week he lobbied National minister Maurice Williamson last year regarding an application by Kim Dotcom to buy a luxury $30 million Coatesville mansion near Auckland. 

The opposition has been calling on Key to stand Banks down over the allegations, but Key is refusing, saying it is a legal issue not an ethical one.