US accused of hampering Dotcom case

23:15, Mar 29 2012
kim dotcom and wife
KIM DOTCOM: The alleged internet pirate after an appearance at the Auckland High Court, pictured with his wife Mona Schmitz.

Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken has accused the United States government of impeding the defence of copyright-accused Kim Dotcom by refusing to release frozen funds needed to gather defence evidence.

Rothken told top US technology news service CNet that Megaupload asked for $7 million to pay consultant KPMG to electronically search Megaupload's servers and then a $1m advance to buy the servers outright from Virginian hosting company Carpathia, but was refused both times.

He feared US officials were withholding the money in an attempt to unfairly hobble Megaupload's defence.

A spokesman for the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the MegaUpload indictment was issued, suggested to CNet in an e-mail that the office didn't consider Rothken's requests reasonable.

''We continue to give careful and thoughtful consideration to any reasonable and detailed proposal by MegaUpload's counsel that addresses the practical and technical issues of this matter for the court. Ultimately, it is the court that will decide what is appropriate and whether any funds will be released to carry it out.''

Carpathia has threatened to delete the data next month if its ongoing hosting costs aren't paid.

The Motion Picture Association of America has called for it to be preserved in case its members want to gather evidence to sue Megaupload users, while internet advocates want it kept so legitimate Megaupload users can regain access to uploaded files.