Kim Dotcom booked a valuable victory this week when a court ruled that $750,000 in funds and cars should be returned to the Megaupload founder. Among other things, Dotcom regained possession of a $301,000 bank account and his Mercedes-Benz G55AMG. Other property that was seized based on an order from the US District Court remains in the hands of the New Zealand authorities for the time being.
The New Zealand High Court has decided to return several items of property belonging to Kim Dotcom.
The Megaupload founder is allowed to keep his $20,000 a month spending budget and regains use of his Mercedes-Benz G55AMG, a luxury car worth $250,000 that sports “Police” on its license plate. A bank account containing $301,000 was also returned.
Dotcom’s wife Mona will have her expenses covered and can have use of a Toyota Vellfire.
Despite the partial success, Stuff reports that the High Court chose to uphold the majority of the US District Court seizure order. This means that most of Dotcom’s cars and other goods will remain with the authorities until further notice.
Dotcom’s attorney Willie Akel had asked the court to return all properties because the New Zealand authorities didn’t investigate the US request, but Judge Potter said that the Attorney General is not required to evaluate the legitimacy of the US order.
A significant portion of the new funds will be used to pay for legal expenses, both in New Zealand and the United States.
Among other things, the legal team will try to prevent Dotcom’s extradition. A court will review whether the Megaupload founder has committed an extraditable offense that violates New Zealand law. Earlier this week Dotcom’s US lawyer Ira Rothken said they are confident that this is not the case.
“According to our New Zealand counsel we don’t think that would be the case so we’re optimistic that Kim Dotcom will have a good result in New Zealand,” Rothken said.
The extradition hearing is scheduled for September. In the meantime Megaupload’s defense team is preparing a response to the US indictment, which is expected to be filed in the coming weeks.
Dotcom believes that they have a strong case against an indictment he describes as “nonsense.” The Megaupload founder previously shared several issues that the defense team will bring up in their reply, and he characterized the whole case as a political move.
“This Mega takedown was possible because of corruption on the highest political level, serving the interests of the copyright extremists in Hollywood,” he said.
Whether Megaupload will have to defend itself is still uncertain though. Last week Judge O’Grady informed the FBI that a trial in the United States may never happen because it is impossible to serve a foreign company with criminal charges.