Dotcoms fight for cash to pay household staff

Releasing seized funds to support internet tycoon Kim Dotcom's lifestyle of maids, cooks, nannies and two butlers was "not right", the Crown has argued.

Lawyers for the multimillionaire, his wife Mona Dotcom and the Crown were back in the High Court at Auckland yesterday for another round of arguing about how much money the Dotcoms need to live on.

The founder of file-sharing site Megaupload was arrested in January in a police raid and his bank accounts and assets were seized.

He is awaiting a hearing on extradition to the United States which the court heard yesterday was scheduled for March, but may be put off to July.

After burning through $60,000 a month for the past nine months, Kim and Mona Dotcom have applied for more money so they can continue to pay their domestic retinue of maids, cooks, nannies and butlers (they have one each) while they await Dotcom's extradition hearing.

They were already granted access to funds and other assets such as cars in order to cover their huge legal fees in the copyright case brought against Dotcom by the US Government.

The Crown consented to release $20,000 a month for living costs and the Dotcoms then won access to a bank account with $300,000 in it, from which they paid $40,000 a month to security and domestic staff in their massive Coatesville mansion. That account has now run out.

Mona Dotcom's lawyer, Aaron Lloyd, said a new arrangement had been reached where security costs would now be deferred until Dotcom was back making money.

He asked for an order providing $20,000 a month - all that was needed now that only domestic staff had to be paid - on top of the $20,000 in living costs.

Mr Lloyd said the money was there to afford the order - there was an account with more than $1 million and in the last 48 hours $363,000 had been realised from the sale of several luxury cars.

Counsel for the Commissioner of Police, Anne Toohey, said it was "not right" that the Dotcoms had received $540,000 to live on - $60,000 a month for the past nine months.

She said there had been no accounting of how the already-released moneys had actually been spent and it was worrying that Dotcom had recently made announcements that he was setting up a new business and that he was going to buy the Dotcom mansion.

Money should not be released to fund "an incredibly extravagant lifestyle".

Domestic staff costs should come from the already-generous $20,000 they received for living expenses, she said.

Ms Toohey said the Dotcoms also owned an attached $5 million property and they could rent that out and use that revenue for their expenses.

Justice Judith Potter ordered reports on the availability of the second property and a full account of how the money already released had been spent.

She also wanted to know how "all of a sudden" the security costs deferment plan had become available.

Fairfax Media