Kim Dotcom is to be given back around $750,000 of his seized assets, the New Zealand High Court ruled on Friday. The amount includes a bank account containing $301,000, his Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG sporting the license plate ‘police’, a Toyota Vellfire and expenses for his wife.
Despite the return of these items, most of Kim Dotcom’s wealth remains in the custody of New Zealand officials. At the time of the original raid, 64 bank accounts as well as various PayPal accounts were suspended by the FBI. These contained around $ 175 million in the names of Megaupload Ltd., Vestor Ltd., Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Sven Echternach, Mathias Ortmann, Andrus Nomm, and Bram Van Der Kolk. Around 30 cars were also seized.
Most of the funds will be used to pay for legal expenses in New Zealand and in the United States. An extradition hearing is scheduled for September which is when Kim will hear if he is to be sent to the US to stand trial. Kim’s legal team are confident that because the charges do not break New Zealand law, he will not be extradited. The US prosecutors are likely to file an indictment in the next few weeks.
As we reported last week, a trial may not even be possible under US law. The US Judge handling the case, Judge O’Grady recently informed the FBI that Megaupload was never served with criminal charges, a requirement to start a trial. US law states that unlike people, companies can’t be served outside US jurisdiction.
Kim’s defence centres around the 800 files per second uploaded to Megaupload and the impossibility of policing all that traffic. He will also rely on US privacy laws such as Electronic Communication Privacy Act, which prohibits the administrators from looking into the accounts of the users. Kim said: “If there was a bright side to my time in jail, it was weight loss, I dropped 16kg”.
Another news story emerged over the weekend involving political donations made by Kim Dotcom to the current minister for small business and regulatory reform, John Banks. Banks allegedly asked Kim to split a suggested $50,000 donation into two parts so that it would fall beneath the maximum level for anonymous contributions. This breached New Zealand electoral law which makes it illegal to over register donations over $1,000 as anonymous if he or she knows the donor’s identity.
Don’t forget to watch Kim’s video featuring himself Kimi Raikkonen and Finn Batato at the Nürburgring!