MEGAUPLOAD founder and piracy accused Kim Dotcom has been granted access to some of his frozen funds so he can pay legal expenses.
In a High Court decision released on Wednesday, Justice Judith Potter granted Dotcom access to $NZ6 million of seized funds and approved the sale of nine of his cars.
The $NZ6 million released by the High Court includes $NZ2.6 million to cover Dotcom’s legal expenses, $NZ1 million for future legal expenses and $NZ1 million for rent at his Coatesville mansion, north of Auckland.
Among the cars to be sold are Dotcom’s 2008 Rolls Royce coupe and a 2009 Mercedes E500.
The multi-millionaire internet piracy accused took to Twitter about the High Court decision.
“BREAKING NEWS: The High Court just ruled the release of restrained assets to cover our legal fees in New Zealand,” Dotcom tweeted on the social networking site.
Dotcom hasn’t been able to access his assets since his arrest in January in an armed police raid on his Coatesville mansion.
His lawyers were seeking a variation to the foreign restraining orders in place so that his legal fees could be paid.
At a hearing in the High Court at Auckland two weeks ago, Dotcom’s lawyer Willie Akel said his client wanted a $NZ10 million New Zealand government bond released so money could be borrowed against it.
Given the highly unusual situation, it’s reasonable that Dotcom should be able to access experienced legal counsel, Mr Akel said.
However, Crown lawyer Anne Toohey, acting on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, told the court that there should be some judicial oversight and scrutiny of Dotcom’s legal costs.
Ms Toohey raised concerns about the number of counsel involved in the case and said an application for legal fees should have been made in advance.