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MegaUpload lawyers insist US Supreme Court has questions to answer over Kim Dotcom’s assets

By | Published on Monday 26 June 2017

Kim Dotcom

Legal reps for MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom last week filed new paperwork with the US Supreme Court as part of his continued bid to get access to the assets seized when American authorities shut down his former business on copyright grounds back in 2012.

As previously reported, the dispute over the seized MegaUpload assets is just one of the various sets of legal wrangling that have been going through the motions for over five years now. The case for not allowing Dotcom to reclaim some or all of his seized assets in no small part revolves around him and his former MegaUpload colleagues having ‘fugitive’ status under American law as they fight efforts by the US to extradite them from New Zealand.

Dotcom’s lawyers argue that their client is not a fugitive, and that he is simply fighting America’s extradition efforts in New Zealand according to the two countries’ extradition treaty – as is his right.

American courts have mainly sided with the US government on this point to date, but Dotcom has now taken the matter to the Supreme Court. Earlier this month American officials responded to the latest appeal by urging judges to reject Dotcom’s filing on the basis that he was definitely a fugitive, and that that classification was in line with Congress’s wishes and precedents set in relevant case law.

In that response the US government ignored some critical questions, say Dotcom’s legal reps in a new response to the response. Moreover, the case law isn’t as clear cut as the authorities claim, reckons Team Dotcom, and questions remain over just how solid the criminal copyright case against their client really is.

If the Supreme Court knocks back the case, or confirms the lower court rulings, the lawyers argue, it would mean the American government “can weaponise fugitive disentitlement in order to claim assets abroad”.

They add: “Far from being directed towards persons who have fled or avoided our country while claiming assets in it, fugitive disentitlement is being used offensively to strip foreigners of their assets abroad”.

Concluding, Dotcom’s filing – published by Torrentfreak here – says: “It is time for the court to speak to the questions presented. Over the past two decades it has never had a better vehicle to do so, nor is any such vehicle elsewhere in sight”.