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Kim Dotcom fights to keep finances a secret

By | Published on Thursday 28 August 2014

Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom’s finances have been discussed in a New Zealand court once again, as the various legal shenanigans in relation to his former business MegaUpload continue to slowly and tediously go through the motions.

As previously reported, in late July questions were asked about Dotcom’s current financial affairs. Legal reps for the movie studios, which are suing him in relation to the rampant copyright infringement MegaUpload allegedly enabled and encouraged, said they wanted to know how Dotcom could afford to still live what looks like a lavish lifestyle, while funding start-up ventures and political causes, despite his assets being frozen by the US authorities when MegaUpload was shut down in 2012.

The implication is that Dotcom still has access to monies generated by MegaUpload, and is continuing to spend them. This is of interest to the movie studios – and the major record companies for that matter – because if they prevail in their respective copyright infringement lawsuits against Dotcom, they’ll be due mega-bucks damages, but the content owners worry that the former MegaUpload chief is busy spending all the money that would finance any settlements.

Whilst renewing the order that allowed the MegaUpload assets to be frozen in the first place (something a lower court had previously refused to do), a New Zealand court also recently called on Dotcom to fully declare all his assets and sources of income, initially setting an August deadline to do so. He’s now been given to the end of next week.

But legal reps for the Mega man reckon no such declaration should be made until he has had chance to formally appeal the most recent rulings against him, something that is due to happen in October. Even if, as has been proposed, any such declaration would sit with lawyers working for the US entertainment giants, but not be shared with their clients, until said appeal hearing can take place.

Dotcom argues that the monies he is living off and investing today stem from business interests pursued since the MegaUpload shutdown; his lawyers adding that the 2012 assets frieze order only relates to assets in his possession at that time, and has no hold over wealth generated since.

Meanwhile, according to Stuff, Dotcom’s lawyer Tracey Walker has argued that the New Zealand High Court itself has valued the assets frozen in 2012 at $11.8 million, and that’s in addition to other assets held in Hong Kong, so “the position of the US parties is well protected by the assets already frozen”. Though the movie studios and major labels, always ambitious when it comes to piracy settlements, would likely not agree. Especially as the music publishers and indie labels would also likely seek damages if Hollywood and the majors prevail in court.

A decision is still to be made if Dotcom will indeed be ordered to share his financial information next week. To do so, said Walker, would be an invasion of her client’s privacy. Legal reps for Hollywood concurred, but, they said, it’s a necessary one.

As previously reported, the actual civil litigation against Dotcom is currently on hold pending America’s criminal case against the MegaUpload founder.