A Harawira comeback?

It looks like Hone Harawira is going to attempt a political comeback.

Source from the North: Hone Harawira WILL contest the 2017 election in Te Tai Tokerau, for the Mana Movement

If he stands in Te Tai Tokerau it will be interesting to see how Labour deals with the campaign there. Kelvin Davis won the electorate off Harawira in 2014, much to the annoyance of Mana and Internet Party supporters who needed an electorate win to make it into Parliament.

There was also quite a bit of annoyance that Mana got on board with the money man, Kim Dotcom. There will be memories of that.

While Mana supporters have remained active the Party has virtually disappeared with their website gone and only spasmodic activity on Facebook.

They seem to have tried to re-brand themselves as a ‘movement’ but there hasn’t been much sign of it.

Dotcom not John Doe

I didn’t think the John Doe who claims to have hacked the Panama papers would be Kim Dotcom, but it seems that some do. It’s certainly being talked about.

Both & are speculating this morning that “John Doe” may be . Interesting theory. would know.

Theories have been circulating suggesting the mysterious figure behind the Panama Papers leaks may in fact be the NZ-based internet entrepreneur. The Spiniff begins its fearless mission to unmask John Doe by asking, is it you, Kim Dotcom?

Rare is the day when the two most voluble and entertaining thought leaders of the New Zealand blogosphere agree, but so it is on the matter of the identity of the Panama Papers’ “John Doe”, the name adopted by the person behind the massive information leak.

Both Cameron ‘Whaleoil’ Slater and Martyn ‘Daily Blog’ Bradbury – along with various other novice online sleuths – have been speculating that John Doe is Kim Dotcom, the Mega-founder being sought for extradition from New Zealand by the US Justice Department.

But Bradbury responded that “I’m not speculating it is Kim” but ” oh I certainly believe it’s political”. The last two sentences Hooton referred to :

I wonder who had the skills to hack and desire for vengeance against Key?

I’ve always believed that vengeance is a dish best served 18months into the election cycle.

That’s quite vague. Incidentally Bradbury does seem to think that this could, at last, be what what triggers the revolution (John Doe had saiD that the next revolution would be digital):

This week is looking very difficult for John Key and his right wing rich mates. Mass surveillance lies didn’t wake sleepy hobbits up. Dirty Politics didn’t wake sleepy hobbits up. Looks like Key building Tax Havens and getting caught might just wake them up.

He might be right one day, but his accuracy average won’t be flash.

Meanwhile Slater didn’t actually come out and say it was Dotcom but he did all but. He posted a ‘comment of the day’ and bolded these words.

illegally hacked

paymaster
German

It’s a whole lot easier for the hacker, the paymaster and the intermediaries to be close so what is discovered can be discussed and assimilated.

“John Doe” appears to have a better knowledge of NZ politics than a lot of kiwis

Am I joining the dots or do I just need to loosen the tinfoil ?

Slater accusing Dotcom is nothing new. He might be right once too and might actually front up with evidence to prove it. But then he posted:

I suspect Key will have second thoughts about cutting me adrift and feeding me to the wolves at the same time as doing absolutely nothing to try and identify the criminal hackers, the complicit media working with criminals, and the people in the Labour Party that are funding, facilitating and abusing the fruits of crime.

Sorry to say, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Key over this.  He threw me under the bus.  He threw Ede under the bus.  He’s thrown Whitney under the bus.  None of us broke the law.

Key threw Slater and Ede under a bus? Or did he just distance himself from a train wreck?

Nevertheless it sounds like Slater has more on his mind than who John Doe is. His comment is full of irony, self-sorriness, and some trepidation.

Oh, and Manhire asked Dotcom if he was the Panamanian John Doe and Dotcom denied it, saying “I’m not John Doe, Satoshi Nakamoto or Rawshark.” Of course he doesn’t have to be them.

Conclusion: I’m suspicious of Manhire trying to deflect attention onto everyone but him. I don’t think he is John Doe either but which journalist writes about Slater and Bradbury these days. And in the same post!

Dotcom and modernising extradition laws

Stuff recently reported that Kim Dotcom extradition appeal to be heard in August

Following the judgment in December they immediately launched an appeal and Justice Raynor Asher called a case review conference on Tuesday where he set a date for the appeal for August 29.

That would give him time to consider his decision and have a judgment ready before the end of the year, he said.

This was despite the United States asking for an earlier date, saying the appeal was of a matter of urgency.

No sign of urgency here, it is four years since Dotcom’s arrest.

Judge Nevin Dawson ruled the Mega moguls be eligible for extradition shortly before Christmas, following a lengthy nine week hearing at the North Shore District Court at Auckland.

He ruled the US had a “large body of evidence” which supported a prima facie case, and that Dotcom and his co-accused “fall well short of undermining the case.”

Dotcom and his Mega co-founders were back in the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday launching an appeal against an earlier District Court decision that he and his co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Fin Batato and Bram van der Kolk, were eligible for extradition to the United States on copyright charges.

David Fisher wrote Kim Dotcom might enjoy another summer

The charges relate to Dotcom’s Megaupload website, which was shut down in a global raid in 2012.

Yes, that’s four years ago.

The delays to this point have, to a great extent, been understandable. The Crown failed to cover itself in glory from the outset, and genuine questions needed judicial answers over discovery, illegal spying and search warrants.

The Crown today pushed for an earlier hearing but was defeated. The issues, said Dotcom’s team, were very complex and needed time to air. The High Court penciled in a date when the first signs of spring are starting to show.

Everyone can again display their expertise at length after the High Court scheduled the appeal for eight weeks from the end of August. That means it is scheduled to wander through to mid-October. Expect further appeals after that.

Guilty or not, liable for extradition or not, whatever — Dotcom looks likely to welcome in the 2017 New Year in New Zealand.

The Law Commission refers to the lengthy Dotcom extradition process in making recommendations for changes. The Herald reports Law change needed to tackle cross-border crime.

The growing problem of cross-border crime means the law should be changed to ensure New Zealand does its part, a review by the commission has concluded.

The report, released today, contains three key recommendations:

  • Requests from the vast majority of countries should be processed in the same way. Currently, the formal extradition steps vary considerably depending on which country is making the request, and treaties in place that are mostly over 100 years old.
  • Tailor-made rules should guide extradition proceedings. There should be a single appeal route, rather than the current regime that enables multiple and separate appeals and judicial reviews.
  • A new central authority should be created to manage all extradition requests. It would consider whether to commence an extradition proceeding, a call that would involve assessing the likelihood of success.

The Law Commission said making the extradition process more straightforward could be done at the same time as protecting the rights of the person sought.

The Law Commission has recommended that the court be given sole responsibility for deciding on nearly all of the grounds for refusal, with only a few grounds reserved for sole consideration by the Minister of Justice.

These recommendations won’t affect the Megaslow Dotcom case but if they are adopted they may speed cases up in the future.

It would help if the police didn’t cock things up in investigating and arresting people as well.

The Law Commission report: Modernising New Zealand’s Extradition and Mutual Assistance Laws

Journalist or not?

I referenced this recently but it’s worth a look at this full post last week by Privacy Commissioner John Edwards:

When is a journalist not a journalist?

Last week’s decision of Clifford J in the Wellington High Court found that in the context of the Evidence Act, Nicky Hager was a journalist in relation to the publication of Dirty Politics, and was therefore entitled to assert privilege under s.68 of the Evidence Act 2006.

The High Court decision to classify Hager as a journalist echoes my office’s decision to do the same, in a complaint made against him by blogger Cameron Slater. This is important because the Privacy Act only applies to agencies – and the definition of “agency” excludes “ in relation to its news activities, any news medium.”  Journalists working in their capacity in the news media do not come under my office’s remit.

However, if we accorded Hager the news media protection, why did we flip-flop in another case and deny it to journalist John Roughan?

We don’t usually make public comment on cases that we have investigated. But apparent inconsistencies in approach have been picked up by parties and questioned. Those questions are legitimate, and important, so I’m happy to try and explain, by discussing elements of the complaints to our office that have been placed into the public domain by the parties.

There are three other relevant cases, all with familiar parties:

Dotcom v Attorney-General

The Crown (being sued by Kim Dotcom) asked the Court to force Kim Dotcom to produce documents held by a journalist (David Fisher), who he’d fully co-operated with when Mr Fisher wrote the biography The Secret Life of Kim Dotcom. This is a process called discovery. Usually, one party can ask the other party to give up all relevant information that is within their control. If a third party has information relevant to the proceedings, there is a special process by which they can be compelled to produce information for the proceedings as well. This is called “third party discovery”.

The Crown argued that because Kim Dotcom had a right under the Privacy Act to access personal information held by an agency, any such information was within his control, and therefore he should exercise his right to procure and produce it.

David Fisher was, they said, an agency under the Privacy Act, and Kim Dotcom could get all the information held by him. The Court considered whether David Fisher was an agency, given he was a journalist, working for a major NZ daily newspaper, who had regularly written news articles about Kim Dotcom.

Then Chief High Court Judge, Justice Winkelmann concluded that in David Fisher’s capacity as an author of a book, he was not “news media” as the definition refers to “articles”, not “books”. The result seemed to be that Mr Fisher would not be subject to the Privacy Act for an article published in the New Zealand Herald, but if a collection of such articles were published as a book, he would be.

Cameron Slater v Nicky Hager

Nicky Hager received a hard drive from an unnamed source with a significant amount of personal correspondence to and from blogger Cameron Slater. He then used that information as source material for his 2014 book Dirty Politics.

Mr Slater made a complaint to my office that the means by which Mr Hager obtained his private communications, and then subsequently published them, breached his privacy

The matter the High Court was addressing in Dotcom v Attorney-General was based on an individual’s right of access (that is, information privacy principle 6). The question we faced in the Slater v Hager complaint was about the means by which an investigative journalist collected and disseminated information (that is information privacy principles 1-4, and 11), so there were differences in the basic facts of the case.

We, and others found the High Court decision in Dotcom troublesome from a number of perspectives, not the least being that it effectively puts my office in the position of having to form a view on what information parties are entitled to have access to for court proceedings, but I have no power to order the production of the information. If the Privacy Act is to be the means for providing third party discovery there will be significant delays in cases before the courts as parties come through my office, and then on to the Human Rights Review Tribunal before going back to the court hearing their dispute.

When lawyers find a precedent case inconvenient, they seek to “distinguish” it from the facts of other cases it might otherwise apply to.

In determining whether Mr Hager was ‘news media’ for the purposes of the publication of a book, my senior investigating officer decided the facts of the complaint were quite different from those in the Dotcom case. He was obliged to take into account s.14 of the Privacy Act which requires that in performing functions under the Act, we have to have due regard for the protection of important human rights and social interests that compete with privacy.

And he had to think about s.6 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA)  which provides “Wherever an enactment can be given a meaning that is consistent with the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights, that meaning shall be preferred to any other meaning“.

Section 14 of the NZBORA provides for “freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form”.

And so we made the decision that the writing and publication of Dirty Politics was the collection and dissemination of news, by a journalist, and that as such we had no jurisdiction to consider a complaint that its publication or research that lead to it, was a breach of the Privacy Act.

Roughan v Prime Minister John Key

So if Nicky Hager is a journalist when he writes a book, why isn’t John Roughan when he does?

Mr Roughan wrote a book about Prime Minister John Key.  Lawyers for Bradley Ambrose, the cameraman suing Mr Key for defamation as a result of the “teapot tapes” events asked the Prime Minister for discovery, including material held by his biographer John Roughan. They were asking him to exercise his right under the Privacy Act to access personal information about him, so it could be produced to the Court. Lawyers for the Prime Minister obliged and made the request of Mr Roughan, who refused on the basis that he was a journalist.

Here, we had a case that was “on all fours” with the earlier decision of Justice Winkelmann. A journalist working for New Zealand Herald writes a book about a well known individual who is a party to legal proceedings. I made the decision that as a statutory officer faced with a case with identical facts to those directly ruled on by a senior judicial officer, I was bound by that precedent. There was simply no “wiggle room”.

Privacy, freedom of press and the courts

A freely functioning press is vital to a healthy democracy. Press freedom, and freedom of expression are not absolute values, and are like other rights, subject to limitations. That’s why we have defamation laws, laws against incitement, and limits to protect  privacy.

This is also why Nicky Hager ultimately succeeded in his judicial review of a warrant to search his property for evidence that might identify the source of the information Hager used for his book Dirty Politics.

I agree with critics that consistency in the law and its application is an important value. With the Government committed to reform of the Privacy Act, it could be timely to take the opportunity to clarify the position of journalists, privacy, discovery and the Courts.

  • Privacy Commissioner John Edwards

‘US the place for Dotcom to argue case’

While some online still defend Kim Dotcom and make unsubstantiated and outlandish claims about New Zealand’s justice system main stream media have had a good look at the evidence presented in Dotcom’s extradition hearing and there seems little dispute about the weight of evidence.

Today’s NZ Herald editorial does further, saying US the place for Dotcom to argue case:

Judge Nevin Dawson has found prima facie breaches of copyright on a massive scale in Dotcom’s operation. It is important to note that prima facie findings are not proven guilt; they mean simply that the evidence offered by the prosecution is strong enough to support his extradition. Dotcom and his co-accused offered alternative explanations for the alleged offences but these can be considered only at a trial.

To avoid extradition, their lawyers had to show that the evidence against them was unsound, or the application faulty. They did not do so.

Dotcom and his co-accused should now take their explanations to a trial in the US.

It has taken nearly four years for the case to come this far. We may expect years more to pass at each stage of appeal. And all the while it is costing this country a fortune in court time and expenses.

The district court hearing took nine weeks and it followed countless procedural hearings since Dotcom’s arrest in an almost paramilitary police operation in January 2012.

New Zealanders ought to be able to find Judge Dawson’s 271-page decision online as easily as they can download movies and music and other copyrighted material.

Here it goes: https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/united-states-of-america-v-dotcom-and-ors/at_download/fileDecision

It explains the methods allegedly used by Dotcom’s Megaupload site to store such material and even reward those who did so. It is said to have provided multiple URL links to the same material and when it received a take-down notice from a copyright owner, it is said to have removed only the offender’s link, not the material.

It may be that these sort of practices are technically legal but it is in the interests of content providers and users that we find out. We cannot find out until Dotcom goes to the US and faces trial. He should go now.

It’s looking inevitable that Dotcom will have to go to the US to face the charges, eventually. He has the financial resources to fight extradition in every way possible, and he even went as far as pouring millions of dollars into the Internet Party to try and engineer a change of Government. That was unsuccessful. In fact it may have strengthened support for the governing party, National.

But it looks like Dotcom is prepared to pour money into legal delays.

Not so one of those originally accused along with Dotcom. Andrus Nomm decided it wasn’t worth living with the charges hovering over him and gave himself up to the US. He was convicted and has just been released from prison.

Dotcom: ‘Inside man’ told of copyright concerns

Detailed testimony from the FBI’s “inside man” in the Megaupload case has been released, with evidence from within the company about how copyright rules were broken, according to court documents.

Former Megaupload programmer Andrus Nomm told the FBI “his co-conspirators were aware that they were making money directly from reproducing and distributing copyright infringing content”.

The details are now able to be reported after a decision in the extradition case of Kim Dotcom and three others triggered the release of court documents filed by the United States.

Nomm has just been released from a US federal prison after serving less than a year in prison after making a plea deal to testify against his former colleagues at Megaupload.

Documents filed with New Zealand courts by the US stated Nomm would testify that Megaupload’s content auditing team in the Philippines was “not very effective and that many of the auditors did not even know what copyright was”.

The court document stated: “Nomm specifically advised Dotcom and (co-defendant Mathias) Ortmann about the legality of the files being hosted. At some point after he was hired, Nomm realised the group’s reliance on and benefits from illegal copyright infringement and yet he continued to work with them. He believed they were likely to be sued civilly at some point.”

Dotcom has previously said Nomm had decided to make the deal after years of unemployed isolation in the Netherlands, away from his son in Turkey. “I can understand why Andrus did it. But it doesn’t change the fact that he is innocent.”

But Nomm admitted guilt and was convicted.

Dotcom is obviously not prepared to admit guilt. He is not yet prepared to test this in a US court. If he was convinced of his innocence he may not be so reluctant to out that to the legal test.

But if he keeps fighting his extradition he may be putting off the apparent inevitability of a trial.

The evidence as presented – including evidence supplied by Nomm – certainly seems strong enough to justify a trial. That doesn’t mean a conviction will eventuate, but as the herald editorial says, it’s important that it tested in a US court.

But…

We just call it the ‘copy/paste’ or ‘get this off my desk’ judgement. A struggle to avoid any real legal or context analysis. Easy appeal.

Appealing may be easy for someone with his financial resources. Winning an appeal may not be so easy.

 

The crux of the Dotcom case?

Dotcom case: It’s not over yet at NZ Herald may have highlighted one of the key aspects of the Dotcom extradition case.

Dotcom and his co-accused – Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato – strenuously denied the allegations of copyright infringement, money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.

But Judge Nevin Dawson, who heard the case over nine weeks in the Auckland District Court, ruled yesterday that there was a case to answer in the US.

There was an “overwhelming preponderance of evidence” presented by the Crown on behalf of the US Government, he said.

Judge Dawson was quick to dismiss Dotcom’s claims Hollywood influenced American politicians to have him dragged before the court.

“In essence, [Dotcom] is alleging the US movie studios have used credit they have built up with the Democrat Party administration in the USA to have him extradited from New Zealand to face prosecution in the USA,” the judge said in his 270-page judgment.

“He submits that the prosecution of him has a political motive and this court should use its discretion to stop his surrender for extradition.”

Judge Dawson said the case against the defendants saw copyright holders claiming $175 million in losses.

“That Mr Dotcom has a different point of view about the use of the internet from others, including the US movie studios, does not have the hallmarks of what is ordinarily regarded as political persecution for political beliefs. It is a difference of opinion about a business matter, the use of the internet and the application of copyright law,” he said.

That may be the crux of the inevitable appeal – a different point of view  about a business matter, the use of the internet and the application of copyright law.

The full relevant paragraphs of Judge Dawson’s ruling:

[695] Mr Dotcom through his counsel’s submissions and his affidavit filed in support of his evidence during the hearing of the stay application during this hearing, alleges that the United States movie studios provide very large sums of money to the Democrat and Republican political parties, and to the Democrat Party in particular. The present President of the United States of America is a Democrat. He alleges that highly placed US movie studio executives have often met with highly placed US politicians, including the Vice President of the United States of America, Mr Joe Biden. He says that his views on the use of the internet and its future use is very different from the views of the US movie studios and he is being attacked by them because of his views. In essence he is alleging the US movie studios have used credit they have built up with the Democrat Party administration in the USA to have him extradited from New Zealand to face prosecution in the USA. He submits that the prosecution of him has a political motive and this Court should use its discretion to stop his surrender for extradition.

[696] The primary application which is the subject of this hearing has already been found to have a legal basis as a prima facie case has been established by the applicant. The charges are not trivial in nature pursuant to s 8(1)(a) as they allegeserious misconduct involving approximately US$175 million claimed to be lost by 270 the copyright owners. As a prima facie case exists, it is proper that the copyright owners should be heard at trial.

[697] That Mr Dotcom has a different point of view about the use of the internet from others including the US movie studios does not have the hallmarks of what is ordinarily regarded as political persecution for political beliefs. It is a difference of opinion about a business matter, the use of the internet and the application of copyright law. There is a prima facie case providing a legal basis for his extradition for these issues to be heard at trial. There is therefore no basis for finding the first respondent not eligible for surrender based upon either sections 7 or 8 of the Act.

http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/from/decisions/judgments

David Farrar has some interesting quotes at Kiwiblog: The 271 page Dotcom judgment

Dotcom and co eligible for extradition

Judge Dawson today ruled that Kim Dotcom and co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato are all eligible for extradition to the US.

NZ Herald: Kim Dotcom loses extradition battle, appeal made

Judge Dawson agreed there was an “overwhelming preponderance of evidence” that there was a case for the quartet to answer.

This doesn’t surprise me. Neither does it surprise me that one of Dotcom’s lawyer’s has already indicated they will appeal. This can only be on points of law dealt with by the District Court Judge.

The Herald also has a useful Kim Dotcom: What you need to know.

And also more detail: The Big Read: Dotcom determined to stay

And for the most over the top reaction I’ve seen so far, Martyn Bradbury at The Daily Blog:

BREAKING – 5 Eyes win! Dotcom to be extradited to America

The 5 Eyes have won – American jurisdiction into cyberspace has been established.

Kim Dotcom is to be extradited to America where, without his wealth, he will face the full force of the State. He will appeal this afternoon.

The schadenfreude being displayed by so many on Twitter at Dotcom being renditioned to America is ugly.

NZ – a CIA client state – has done the dirty work for America and allowed corporate Hollywood the ability to claim sovereignty online.

And Cameron Slater is in full bore schadenfreude at Whale Oil –  KIM SCHMITZ / KIM TIM JIM VESTOR / KIMBLE / BILLY BIGSTEPS / KIM DOTCOM- THE VERDICT: EXTRADITION – where he tries to claim he was a lone voice critical of Dotcom:

Whaleoil was a lone voice for a long time before the scales fell from the eyes of people drunk on his money and extroversion.  He’s rotten to the core.  We had the inside information, but it took a long time for people to choose to see.

I don’t recall Slater having anything to do with the investigation, the arrest or the extradition proceedings.

As Slater has admitted, he’s big on embellishment.

This attempt to extradite will be ongoing, probably for years before he finally knows whether he has to face charges in the US or not.

Conclusion

[698] This eligibility Court has received an extraordinarily large volume of material to consider, and the hearing took over 9 weeks before completion. The parties were informed by this Court that all matters relevant to this eligibility hearing would be heard at the hearing and decisions would issue accordingly. At the end of the hearing, all parties confirmed to this Court that none of them had any further issues they wished to raise. [699] Given the very large volume of material presented during the hearing it is not possible to issue decisions that would be less than encyclopaedic in length in order to cover every minor point alluded to in the hearing. There is no need to do this. Much of the material presented to this Court has not been relevant to an eligibility hearing and a number of the submissions were unsupported by appropriately sworn evidence. They do not come near to undermining the applicant’s case or point to a breach of the duty of candour and good faith. If some aspects of the parties submissions or evidence has not been referred to in this judgment that is because it was not relevant to the decision given.

[700] The overwhelming preponderance of evidence produced by the applicant in the ROC and the SROC establishes a prima facie case to answer for all respondents on each of the counts. 271

[701] Pursuant to s 24(1) this Court finds that the respondents are all eligible for surrender on all thirteen counts in the superseding indictment

The full court decision: http://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/united-states-of-america-v-dotcom-and-ors/at_download/fileDecision

 

 

Dotcom decision due

A decision on the extradition of Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato will be delivered tomorrow (Wednesday).

USA v Dotcom & Ors decision will be delivered tomorrow Wed 23 Dec by DC Judge Dawson

After that it will go to Justice Minister Amy Adams who will decide if the extradition will go ahead.

Early last year I asked then Justice Minister Judith Collins how many extradition requests were considered ( 22 in three years) and how often  requests were refused (none in three years).

See Extradition requests made and refused – and Collins explains how the process works.

For requests from most countries, once the court has determined an individual is eligible for surrender, the matter is referred to me, as Minister of Justice, for the final decision on the surrender. As Minister I decide whether to issue a surrender order, taking into account humanitarian considerations and other factors contained in the Extradition Act.

After that there are still a couple of avenues for appeal after that.

In very strange coverage NZ Herald, in Kim Dotcom court decision coming tomorrow said:

Embedded image permalink

They have since removed the Merry Christmas quip, but not before Dotcom justifiably complained about it on Twitter (the above graphic is from there so may not be exactly as published by NZH)..

Hong Kong court allows access to Dotcom funds

Amongst his other legal battles Kim Dotcom has been fighting to get access to frozen funds, including in Hong Kong. The High Court there has allowed Dotcom to access some of his restrained funds.

Court allows internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to access Hong Kong funds

The High Court has allowed internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to access some of his restrained Hong Kong assets to pay part of his legal costs and for living expenses.

Deputy judge Wilson Chan Ka-shun found the German-born businessman had fully disclosed his financial situation to a New Zealand court earlier this year.

“I am satisfied that Dotcom is not able to meet his own [expenses],” the judge said.

As a New Zealand court had allowed Dotcom to access NZ$80,000 (HK$406,000) per month for his living expenses, Chan granted him the same amount from his Hong Kong assets.

But he only allowed Dotcom to use his assets to pay for part of his legal fees.

Hong Kong customs officers, at the request of the US government, seized the assets of Dotcom and his company, Megaupload, on January 20, 2012. The court granted a restraining order to freeze the assets totalling more than HK$300 million.

Dotcom’s  lawyer, Gerard McCoy SC, said he was facing 48 court orders around the world and he had used up all his money in New Zealand and therefore wanted to access his restrained funds in Hong Kong.

That will add up to a lot of legal expenses.

 Prosecutor Wayne Walsh SC yesterday told the court that Dotcom lived a “Roll’s Royce lifestyle” in New Zealand and claimed he needed NZ$27,000 for rent, NZ$41,000 for household expenses and thousands of dollars to cover his electricity bills.

He has certainly lived an extravagant lifestyle here. That is now under financial pressure. It was reported recently that Dotcom had been forced into downsizing his accommodation and staff numbers.

Dotcom moves on from mansion

Embattled internet mogul Kim Dotcom is quitting his landmark Coatesville mansion.

In the latest chapter of the property’s short but chequered history, the controversial Megaupload founder has shelved plans to buy the expansive 60ha rural block on Auckland’s northern fringes and is preparing to move into a waterfront penthouse apartment on fashionable Princes Wharf.

Under the terms of the lease, he has to move out as he can’t afford to buy the property. He is preparing to downsize to a four-bedroom apartment in central Auckland.

 

 

 

 

Dotcom employee finishes jail term

While Kim Dotcom, Finn Batato, Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortman. await the judge’s decision on their extradition to the US another person involved in Megaupload who gave himself up is just finishing his prison sentence.

David Fisher at NZ Herald wrote Free but $266 million in debt: The deal that gave the FBI an inside man who could testify against Kim Dotcom

As Kim Dotcom waits for a judge to decide if he will be extradited to face criminal copyright charges, a former employee is walking out of jail after serving time on the FBI accusations the internet tycoon continues to deny.

Andrus Nomm had three years of anxiety over the charges resulting from the FBI operation against the filesharing business Megaupload.com. They were claims of a vast criminal copyright conspiracy operated through one of the world’s most popular websites.

Then, earlier this year, Nomm ended the waiting by cutting a deal with United States prosecutors. The result – a 366-day sentence (with an early parole), three years of supervision and a US$175 million judgment.

A database of federal prisoners has Nomm listed as due for release today.

In return, US prosecutors got an inside man – a staff member of one of the Megaupload co-accused who would testify against Dotcom and the others.

So the worst of Nomm’s sentence is over while Dotcom and associates have the extradition still hanging over them. If that goes against them will presumably take the battle to appeal, and if that goes against them thery will have to go to the US to face trial and a possible sentence far longer than Nomm’s.

They were arrested nearly four years ago, in January 2012.

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