Dotcom says needs cash to pay nannies
WELLINGTON - ReutersThe founder of online file-sharing site Megaupload.com has asked a New Zealand court to free nearly a quarter of a million dollars in frozen assets to pay for living expenses, including nannies and bodyguards.
Kim Dotcom remains under virtual house arrest in New Zealand after the United States failed yesterday to have his bail revoked and the alleged Internet pirate was put back in jail pending an extradition hearing.
Dotcom, a German national also known as Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, is charged by the United States with being the ringleader of a group which netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization.
Dotcom says the company merely offered online storage. With all his funds frozen, Dotcom asked for yesterday around NZ$220,000 ($184,100) to be released to cover lease costs of a sprawling mansion outside Auckland, wages for staff, and other living expenses such as phones and power.
The New Zealand High Court granted Dotcom an interim payment of around NZ$32,000 to cover immediate living costs, as well as the use of a car, pending a final decision on continuing financial support.
Dotcom has three children and his wife is due to give birth to twins late next month.
In a separate High Court case, the United States appealed against Dotcom’s bail. The prosecution argued that Dotcom was an extreme flight risk because he has had multiple passports, sources of funds, access to various means of travel, and a previous history of fleeing to avoid criminal charges.
But the court rejected the appeal, saying the electronic bracelet Dotcom must wear, along with other restrictions on his movements, were sufficient to allow him to remain free.