Crown tries to block Dotcom ruling

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 09:40 05/05/2014
Kim Dotcom
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

FIGHTING FOR HIS FORTUNE: The Crown is appealing a decision that would have seen Kim Dotcom reunited with his assets.

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The Crown is appealing a High Court decision to reunite Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom with millions of dollars, cars, artwork and property.

Last month the Crown applied in the High Court at Auckland to extend restraining orders on Dotcom's fortune in advance of the original two-year order lapsing.

However, Justice Susan Thomas denied the Crown's application for an extension to the freezing orders on his fortune while he awaited his extradition hearing.

The application was made on behalf of the United States, which aims to prosecute Dotcom for online piracy, conspiracy to commit piracy and money laundering.

Crown Law spokeswoman Jan Fulstow said today the Crown had filed an appeal against the decision.

Dotcom's lawyer Robert Gapes said the move was not a surprise.

Gapes said he hoped Dotcom would succeed in opposing the appeal.

On the face of it the appeal was not obviously different from the Crown's argument in its initial application to extend the foreign restraining orders, he said.

Following the release of Justice Thomas's decision last month Gapes said Dotcom thought the judgment was "fantastic".

If Dotcom did successfully oppose the appeal he would be allowed access to millions of dollars, cars and property seized in 2012.

No court date has been set for the appeal.

Last month Gapes opposed the Crown's application in court, saying the original order was made on the back of a criminal jurisdiction prosecution, but the application for an extension was based on "a future action for civil forfeiture".

Movie studios and recording labels have recently filed several civil law suits against Dotcom in the US.

The section of the Criminal Proceeds Act relied on allowed extensions only on duration, not on new grounds, Gapes said.

There was no jurisdiction and the application should be refused, he said.

Dotcom's wife, Mona Dotcom, was also represented as her funds have also been restrained for the two years.

Her lawyer, Aaron Lloyd, said she had not been charged and all her separately held property should be released.

The applicants had had two years to show why her property should be restrained, and they had not, he said.

Crown lawyer Mathew Downs said Mona Dotcom had to prove that she had not benefited from criminal activity.

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