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US court rules against Dotcom over assets

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/08/2016

An American appeals court has rejected a bid by internet mogul Kim Dotcom to recover assets ordered seized by the US government.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday (US time) in favour of the US government's seizure of a large number of the Megaupload founder's overseas assets.

Dotcom's lawyer Ira Rothken tweeted in reply, "We intend seeking review of this decision."

Seized items include bank accounts in Hong Kong and New Zealand, jet skis, several luxury vehicles and other high-end household goods.

Since 2012 Dotcom has been fighting extradition from New Zealand to the US on piracy charges.

While both countries put restraining orders on funds, both have allowed Dotcom and his associates to withdraw money for legal and living expenses. The New Zealand restraining order could last only three years so in 2014 the US moved to seize Dotcom's assets, along with those of his associates, in both countries, the Washington Post reports.

It won a default judgment in Virginia federal court last year, but Dotcom and his co-defendants argued they were unconstitutionally deprived of the right to defend themselves in that civil forfeiture case.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has now said by refusing to face trial in the US on criminal charges, Dotcom and associates gave up their right to contest any civil proceedings.

In December 2015 North Shore District Court Judge Nevin Dawson ruled there was "overwhelming" evidence the internet mogul and his three co-accused - Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk - had charges to face in the US.

Dotcom's extradition appeal is set to be heard in the High Court in Auckland on August 29.

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