Dotcom sells cars to fund legal fight

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012
dotcom cars
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

BOYS' TOYS: A Mercedez-Benz with the licence plate "HACKER" was among $6m of luxury cars seized in a raid on Kim Dotcom's mansion.

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Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom has put part of his extensive collection of luxury cars up for sale to fund his legal costs.

His collection of more than a dozen high-end Mercedes-Benz, Cadillacs and a rare Rolls Royce Drophead Coupe, made headlines in February this year after a police raid saw Dotcom arrested and the luxury fleet seized.

Dotcom's lawyer, Greg Towers of Simpson Grierson, confirmed to Fairfax Media that six of Dotcom's cars had recently been sold to motor dealer Tristram European while two more were on the lot at Auckland's Continental Car Services. A dismantled Mercedes was also due to go under the hammer at Turner's Car Auctions.

Towers said selling the cars made sense for all involved, as the vehicles were depreciating and storage costs were significant.

All proceeds would be held by the Official Assignee until a legal dispute about orders freezing Dotcom's assets was resolved, he said.

A spokesman for the Official Assignee said the sales followed court orders.

Fairfax Media understands the sale to Tristram - of three late-model Mercedes, two Mini Coopers and a Toyota Hilux - fetched more than $500,000.

Continental are advertising two cars for sale, with the Rolls Royce Phantom listed at $399,900 while the Mercedes-Benz CL63 carries an asking price of $189,900.

Towers said the dismantled Mercedes parts up for sale resulted from a conversion Dotcom was working on before February's raid.

"He was putting together a Merstang - which is a Mustang with a Mercedes chassis and engine inside. And that was a project left uncompleted after he became occupied by other matters," he said.

After February's raid, pictures of the Rolls Royce with the personalised plate "GOD", and a Mercedes bearing the plate "GUILTY" went viral.

Buyers of the Dotcom cars would not be getting vehicles with quite the same profile, Towers said, as the plates - and other vehicles including the classic 1950s Cadillacs - were not for sale.

Despite a series of legal victories against the police, Dotcom still faces an extradition hearing next year where authorities will argue he should be forced to face trial in the United States over charges his substantial wealth was obtained by widespread copyright infringement.

Dotcom, and his co-accused who ran the Megaupload site, deny the charges. He did not respond to requests for comment.

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