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SIS involvement in Dotcom's residence 'likely' - Goff

Published: 11:26AM Thursday September 27, 2012 Source: Fairfax

The Security Intelligence Service was likely involved in millionaire Kim Dotcom's residency, it was claimed today.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday said he did not know whether the domestic spying agency or the National Assessments Bureau were involved.

And he did not know whether the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) was involved.

Labour foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff said it was "quite possible" the SIS would have been involved in Dotcom's case.

"If there's a case where there's some question about the integrity or the criminal record of an individual that wants to come in on immigration then the SIS may well be asked whether it has information about that individual," he said.

Dotcom had criminal convictions in Germany which had been cleared under clean-slate laws.

There were also reports he had been deported from Thailand.

Fairfax media reported this morning that immigration officials passed their file confirming Dotcom's residency status to police in December.

The revelation deals a further blow to the case against the Megaupload multimillionaire, who is fighting extradition to the United States.

This week it emerged that spies from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) illegally spied on Dotcom and his co-accused Bram van der Kolk because they were given the wrong information on Dotcom's residency status by police.

Goff said the SIS was moved into offices with GCSB in an effort to have the two agencies work closer together.

"The idea of that was so that they would work closely together and integrate their efforts in relevant areas," he said.

The SIS largely deals with issues of national security and terrorism.

'Hard to believe' Key unaware

Goff said it was hard to believe so many public agencies and government ministers were involved and Key was not made aware.

"Civil servants always act on the cautious side and if they're planning something that's big they like to ensure that there is a no surprises policy for government," he said.

"Either [Key's] presiding over total incompetence or he's not telling the truth."

Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann in the High Court at Auckland yesterday questioned how GCSB could have been mistaken about Dotcom's residency.

Outside the court Dotcom, who is accused of copyright infringement and racketeering, said: "The courts in New Zealand are dealing with lies, cover-ups and fake stories on a daily basis and they will see straight through this."

A statement from Immigration New Zealand confirmed it passed its file on Dotcom to police in December.

"The information in the file included Mr Dotcom's New Zealand residence status," a spokeswoman said.

Dotcom was granted residency on November 23, 2010. Van der Kolk holds a permanent resident's visa, understood to have been granted in early 2011.

Snooping on the pair began on December 16, and lasted until January 20, when police swooped on his Coatesville mansion.

Key learned of GCSB's involvement a month after his deputy, Bill English, who signed an order blocking public disclosure of their activities.

"He was of the view that the Government Communications Security Bureau would probably inform me of that matter," Key said.

Inspector-General Paul Neazor is expected to complete his investigation into the illegal spying tomorrow.

Government sources have indicated they want to see its findings made public.