Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom looks set to reclaim cash and possessions – including cars and houses – seized during raids in 2012.
A high court in New Zealand said Dotcom’s lawyers could challenge US law enforcement efforts to seize the assets. The FBI was after the assets as part of its case against Dotcom and the controversial Megaupload service he created. The court challenge was launched by Dotcom’s lawyers following a decision by New Zealand’s deputy solicitor general to let US authorities take the assets.
Local newspapers in New Zealand, where Dotcom currently resides, estimate the assets are worth over £5 million (€6.8m). The assets were impounded following raids on Dotcom’s home and business in January 2012.
High court judge Rebecca Ellis found in favour of Dotcom because the application to seize the assets was made under a US law, known as fugitive disentitlement, that is not recognised in New Zealand. The raids in 2012 marked the start of the legal action against Megaupload. The FBI said he made millions from the service and did little or nothing to police its users.