Even in the wake of the now-infamous raid on his New Zealand mansion and the seizure of millions in assets, somehow Dotcom has managed to rake in millions. Or did he also have some stashed away?
It’s an important matter for Hollywood. The businessman’s continued lavish lifestyle diminishes the financial pot from where any payout will be made should they prevail in their copyright infringement battles against the Megaupload founder.
The studio’s concerns were previously addressed by Judge Courtney, who had already ordered Dotcom to disclose to the Court the details of his worldwide assets. The entrepreneur filed an appeal but that hearing would take place in October, a date beyond the already-ordered disclosure date.
Dotcom took his case to the Court of Appeal in the hope of staying the disclosure order, but in August that failed.
Dotcom complied with the ruling and subsequently produced an affidavit. However, he asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision of the High Court in order to keep the document a secret from the studios. That bid has now failed.
Following a ruling handed down this morning by the New Zealand Court of Appeal, Dotcom’s financial information will soon be in the hands of adversaries Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros.
Court of Appeal Judges John Wild, Rhys Harrison and Christin French ordered the affidavit to be released to the studios on the basis that the information could only be used in legal proceedings concerning the restraining of Dotcom’s assets. And with a confidentiality clause attached to the affidavit, the public will not gain access to the information.
Another setback for Dotcom came in respect of who pays the bill for proceedings. The Megaupload founder’s attempt at avoiding costs was turned down after the judges found that having already supplied the affidavit as required, Dotcom’s appeal was not likely to succeed.
And there was more bad news for Dotcom in a separate High Court ruling handed down in New Zealand today. It concerns the extradition cases against not only him but also former Megaupload associates Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk.
The theory put forward by Dotcom is that the United States and New Zealand governments had politically engineered his downfall in order to extradite him to the U.S. To gather evidence showing how that happened, Dotcom and the other respondents made a pair of applications to the extradition court (the District Court) requesting that it make discovery orders against various New Zealand government agencies, ministers and departments.
The District Court declined so the respondents sought a judicial review of that decision claiming that the Court acted unfairly and erred in law. In today’s ruling, Justice Simon France said there was no “air of reality” that political interference had been involved in Dotcom’s extradition case.
“It is, as the District Court held, all supposition and the drawing of links without a basis,” the Judge wrote.
“Nothing suggests involvement of the United States of America, and nothing suggests the New Zealand Government had turned its mind to extradition issues. These are the key matters and there is no support for either contention.”
Judge France said that as respondents in the case, the United States were entitled to costs.