Banks ‘off on a technicality’ - Shearer
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 6:20p.m.
By Patrick Gower
Police have found insufficient evidence to charge John Banks with making false donation returns, after he declared money from Kim Dotcom and Skycity Casino as being from anonymous donors.
But the investigation did find Mr Banks personally solicited the money from the Megaupload founder and SkyCity’s CEO whilst in the running for super city mayor.
When questioned on it shortly after his failed mayoral bid, Mr Banks claimed he “couldn’t recall” meeting Dotcom, or going to his mansion in a helicopter.
He also told Campbell Live he couldn’t recall discussing the $50,000 donation with Dotcom either.
“I don’t know who gave me money, I can’t remember now,” Mr Banks said at the time.
But the police investigation shows Banks should have no issues recalling, establishing that “Mr John Banks personally solicited a donation from Mr Dotcom”.
Labour leader David Shearer has blasted the ACT MP, saying that “everybody in New Zealand knows that John Banks is guilty”.
The police investigation also established Mr Banks met with SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison, where he “received a sealed envelope containing a $15,000 cheque”.
When 3 News confronted Mr Banks at the time, he claimed he was unable to recall this donation either.
“It was one of the numerous, anonymous donations,” he said.
But Mr Shearer says Mr Banks knew exactly what he was doing.
“He asked for the money, he received the money, and he forgot,” says Mr Shearer. “He’s off on a technicality.”
Another donation - $15,690 for radio ads - was declared as having come from an anonymous donor.
But police again found Mr Banks “personally solicited a request for help from a donor”.
In all three cases, Mr Banks’ treasurer did the returns – so police say there is insufficient evidence to charge Mr Banks himself.
“He should be stood down, just for lack of memory,” Mr Shearer says.
Mr Banks did not show up to discuss the findings at Parliament today, but the police report finally answers so many questions that Mr Banks has consistently refused to.
Opposition parties claim his credibility is in tatters.
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