At the beginning of this year as law enforcement agencies in New Zealand, the U.S., and Hong Kong worked together to shut down Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's file-sharing empire, it seized just about every asset the charismatic NZ resident owned - including all of his money. This naturally made it tough for Dotcom to pay his legal fees.
But a judgment today by the High Court in Auckland, New Zealand will give Dotcom some relief.
High Court Justice Judith Potter has allowed Dotcom to borrow NZ$6 million ($4.83 million USD) against a NZ$10 million government bond. The amount of money released will allow Dotcom to pay NZ$2.6 million in existing legal bills, NZ$1 million in future costs related to his defense, and another NZ$1 million in rent on his New Zealand mansion.
While the money will be spent on his defense team in New Zealand, U.S.-based lawyers will have to wait to be paid, because the Judge did not grant Dotcom the amount he was asking for.
The Judge also ruled that none of the released funds can be used for the legal expenses of the other Megaupload defendants including Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato or Mathias Ortmann. Authorities have concluded that these individuals have funds of their own.
Finally, the Judge ruled that Dotcom can sell some of the cars seized in January including a 2008 Rolls Royce coupe and a 2009 Mercedes E500. The one caveat is that any funds made from these sales will be subject to a court review before they are released.