U.S. Wins Millions From Kim Dotcom

The U.S. government has won a civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and Mega’s New Zealand-based founder Kim Dotcom.  

Photo: AP Photo
Entering court in 2014

It means it now owns Dotcom’s assets, including luxury cars, property, art, four jetskis and a dozen accounts in New Zealand and Hong Kong. These assets are worth NZ$67 million (US$50.5 million).

They were seized in 2012 after NZ and U.S. authorities raided Dotcom’s property. The U.S. government alleges Dotcom’s property was acquired through money laundering and copyright infringement. Dotcom told NZ’s Herald on Sunday it was not a fair trial and demonstrated the “sad state” of the U.S. justice system. “By labeling me a fugitive the U.S. court has allowed the U.S. government to legally steal all of my assets without any trial, without any due process, without any test of the merits.”

While the decision was a blow, he says that it allows him to appeal. He says the decision by District Court judge Liam O’Grady “gives us the opportunity to test his decision in a higher court for the first time.”

On review is O’Grady’s ruling that Dotcom cannot mount any defense because he is a fugitive. The tech entrepreneur disputes this. “I’ve always said I’m innocent, there was no conspiracy.” Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload defendants face an extradition hearing in June. A move by Dotcom’s legal term to delay it was rejected. In February, Megaupload computer programmer Andrus Nomm pleaded guilty to online piracy in a plea bargain deal to serve minimal jail time in exchange for testimony against his former colleagues.