Dotcom’s Millions Will Remain Frozen, Court Decides

Kim Dotcom's battle to regain control over millions in seized assets has received another setback. Today the Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by the High Court by extending the restraining orders against the entrepreneur's property until at least April 2015.

dotcom-laptopJust days before the huge raid on Kim Dotcom’s New Zealand home in 2012, foreign restraining orders were granted to enable the seizure of the entrepreneur’s assets.

Those orders ran out in April 2014, with the Crown immediately seeking to have them extended. That application was rejected by the High Court, a decision that prompted celebrations from Dotcom alongside speculation on how he might spend some of the money.

But things weren’t over yet. The Crown filed an appeal against the ruling, and today the Court of Appeal handed down its decision. It’s bad news for Dotcom and fellow respondents Bran Van Der Kolk, Megastuff Limited, and Dotcom’s estranged wife, Mona Dotcom.

The judgment handed down by Judges O’ Regan, Wild and French in the Court of Appeal concerns the High Court’s dismissal of an application by the Commissioner of Police to extend the restraining order over Dotcom’s assets made by a United States Court.

The High Court’s Judge Thomas previously decided that while the Court had jurisdiction to extend the duration of the restraining orders, it would be inappropriate to do so, a decision which led to the appeal.

While Dotcom supported Judge Thomas’ ultimate ruling, he cross appealed against the finding that there was jurisdiction to extend the restraining order. He also contested the Judge’s decision to extend the order pending the outcome of the appeal.

The Court of Appeal dismissed Dotcom’s cross-appeal in its entirety.

For her part, Mona Dotcom supported her estranged husband’s position but also requested that her property be excluded from any extended order. The Court rejected her submission.

“We allow the appeal, quash the decision of the High Court and make the extension order sought by the Commissioner,” the Court of Appeal judges wrote.

“An order is made extending the duration of the registration of the restraining orders issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on 10 and 25 January 2012 and registered in New Zealand on 18 April 2012 for one year from 18 April 2014.”

The decision means that Dotcom will have to head back to court in April 2015 in the hope of regaining possession of his property which includes millions in cash plus luxury cars and jewelry.

In a Twitter response, Dotcom pondered whether the latest decision and others like it might be straining relations between the High Court and Court of Appeals.

“I wonder how much respect Auckland High Court judges have for the Appeal judges in Wellington. Almost all rulings in my case were overturned,” he wrote.

Dotcom’s much-delayed extradition hearing is scheduled for February 2015.

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