Kim Dotcom, the colorful head of the file-sharing website Megaupload, will now have some of his assets returned to him following a seizure of his personal and corporate assets in February. According to a report on the New Zealand-based website, Stuff.co.nz, a High Court lawyer ruled that a court-ordered seizure issued in January was not valid, despite the fact that an interim order has been in place for two months.
Dotcom is to receive NZ$750,000 ($614,000) in cash that had been confiscated from him, in addition to his Mercedes-Benz G55AMG worth NZ$250,000 ($204,000) with the license plate “POLICE.” Dotcom is also continuing to receive an NZ$20,000 ($16,000) monthly living allowance off of the interest of his NZ$10 million ($8.19 million) of government bonds. His wife, Mona, will also get her living expenses and medical bills paid (she recently gave birth), and she will have the use of her seized 2010 Toyota Vellfire, worth NZ$60,000 ($49,000).
Since early April, Dotcom has had the use of his mansion, including the use of his swimming pool for exercise. He is also able to use the Internet. He told Radio New Zealand (MP3) earlier this month that he was using his limited freedom to coordinate his legal defense—and record a “dance music” album as a way to raise money to pay his legal fees. Dotcom is also apparently required to take a photo of himself at the Auckland studio where he has been recording his album and send it to his bail officer to confirm his location.
The German-born entrepreneur has also been involved in a political row in New Zealand.
On Monday, the New Zealand Herald reported that Dotcom claims to have donated NZ$50,000 ($41,000) to John Banks, the head of the ACT New Zealand political party and the current minister for Small Business and Regulatory Reform, during his 2010 campaign for mayor of the city of Auckland.
Dotcom told the newspaper that Banks asked him to divide the payments into two installments of NZ$25,000 each so as to conceal their origin, and that the local politician called him personally to thank him. However, in a statement on his website, Banks denied calling Dotcom for the mayoral donations, adding: “I could not have, as any such contribution was anonymous.”
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, with whom Banks’ ACT New Zealand party is in political coalition, also stepped into the fray over the weekend, saying that he trusted Banks, and that the police should investigate any potential wrongdoing.