When Megaupload was shuttered in 2012, authorities in the United States, New Zealand and Hong Kong seized millions of dollars in cash and other property.
The US government claimed these assets were the result of copyright infringement and money laundering offenses, and attempted to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other property seized from the defendants in the so-called “Mega Conspiracy”.
After branding Dotcom and his co-defendants “fugitives”, last summer the US Government won its case. Shortly after, however, Megaupload’s legal team filed an appeal with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We asked the Fourth Circuit to rule in favor of fairness, natural justice, and due process by stopping US efforts to take Kim Dotcom’s global assets for doing nothing more than lawfully opposing extradition to the United States—a country he has never been to,” Dotcom lawyer Ira Rothken told TF at the time.
Last Friday, however, hopes for a positive outcome were dashed when a three-judge panel at the Fourth Circuit handed down a two to one decision against Dotcom.
Affirming the decision of a lower court, the Court of Appeal opinion dismissed the notion that the order against Dotcom’s assets had no jurisdiction. The Court also found that Dotcom could not recover his assets due to him being a fugitive from criminal charges in the United States.
The assets in question amount to some $67m across multiple bank accounts, several cars, jet skis, jewelry and other sundry luxury items. While they are now another step out of reach, Dotcom is far from ready to throw in the towel. In the wake of the ruling, the entrepreneur lashed out on Twitter.
“I’m a ‘fugitive’ coz I use my treaty rights to defend against extradition & they take my assets without trial? 1938?” he wrote.
Did they think they can separate me from my kids without a fight? I fight corrupt US empire clowns all day, every day. Not even tired. ????
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) August 13, 2016
Dotcom lawyer Ira Rothken said on Sunday that Dotcom would seek a review of the decision and if necessary file a petition at the Supreme Court.
“This opinion has the effect of eviscerating Kim Dotcom’s treaty rights by saying if you lawfully oppose extradition in New Zealand, the U.S. will still call you a fugitive and take all of your assets,” Rothken said.
“By basically saying ‘hey, we’re going to call that fugitive disentitlement, we’re going to take away your ability to have funds to defend yourself’, we think that’s too much. We think it’s American imperialism at its best, and we’re hoping the Supreme Court or the larger Court circuit will see it for what it is, and reverse it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dotcom continues to fight extradition to the United States from New Zealand. This month his appeal will be heard at the High Court in Auckland.
Together with his former Megaupload colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato, Dotcom was found eligible for extradition to the United States last December.
Even in the event the appeal fails, Dotcom won’t be stopping there. The entrepreneur has already made it clear that he’ll take his extradition case all the way to the Supreme Court in New Zealand – and he’s confident he’ll prevail.
Good that I'll never get extradited to the land of corrupt politicians & rigged courts. New Zealand Appeal Judges will apply the law. I win.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) August 11, 2016