Dotcom's assets safe for now

Kim Dotcom has won a small victory in his fight for his seized assets.
SCOTT HAMMOND

Kim Dotcom has won a small victory in his fight for his seized assets.

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has been successful in his latest fight to retain assets seized by authorities.

In March, a United States Federal District Court ruled assets belonging to Dotcom, including a fleet of luxury cars and the house his estranged wife Mona lives in, should be forfeited to the Crown.

The asset list includes about $4 million in government bonds, $800,000 cash, 20-30 luxury vehicles, an empty section next to Dotcom's rented Coatesville mansion and a nearby house worth between $4m-$5m.

The Crown applied to register the US order in New Zealand so it could be enforced.

In response to this, Dotcom's lawyers demanded a judicial review of the deputy solicitor general's decision during a hearing on May 8.

The Crown attempted to strike out Dotcom's judicial review claim.

However, on Wednesday Justice Rebecca Ellis granted Dotcom interim relief.

In her decision, she said Dotcom and his co-defendants had a "substantial position to preserve" and there would be "very real consequences" if it was not protected.

Registering the US order now could deprive Dotcom of his ability to defend his extradition and to pursue appeals against the forfeiture order in the US.

"I have little hesitation in concluding that interim relief should therefore be granted," Justice Ellis said.

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While a final decision on whether the Crown was able to register the US order in New Zealand had not yet been made, it was unable to proceed until further orders from the New Zealand High Court had been given, the judgment said.

In May, Justice Patricia Courtney granted Dotcom access to part of his seized assets so he could cover mounting legal fees and $170,000-a-month household expenses.

The Crown has since appealed this decision

 - Stuff

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