Monday 20th October 2014
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Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has lost his bid to keep the value and nature of his unfrozen assets hidden from Hollywood studios that are suing him over alleged copyright breaches.
The Court of Appeal today turned down Dotcom's appeal to withhold an affidavit outlining his assets from being released to Twentieth Century Fox, Disney Enterprises, Paramount Pictures, Universal City Studios Productions and Warner Bros Entertainment. Dotcom had already been forced to produce such an affidavit, and sought to keep it from the studios who are suing him and his compatriots for US$175 million for allegedly breaching their intellectual property with the now-defunct file-sharing service Megaupload.
Justices Rhys Harrison, John Wild and Christine French ordered the release of the document to the studios, and imposed an additional order limiting the use of the affidavits to legal proceedings in respect to the restraining and freezing of assets disclosed, unless prior leave of a High Court judge was granted.
The judges turned down Dotcom's attempt to avoid costs, saying he "has unsuccessfully run an appeal which he himself regarded as rendered nugatory by his failure to obtain a stay of the ancillary order, with the result that he has in the interim complied with that order," the judgment said. "He did not have to run that appeal."
The studios sought to find out the details of Dotcom's wealth after he said he had spent $3.7 million funding the Internet Party's failed aspiration to enter Parliament, and when he said he would pay a $5 million bounty for information proving unlawful or corrupt conduct by the US government, New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement or Hollywood.
The civil case already has a stay while the US Federal government pursues Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk to face charges of conspiracy to operate websites it says were used to illegally distribute copyrighted content.
In a separate High Court judgment released today, Dotcom lost his bid to access documents from various New Zealand government agencies.
Justice Simon France said Dotcom and his co-accused facing extradition to the US didn't establish an "air of reality" that there was political interference to grant Dotcom residency to enable his extradition to the US.
"Nothing suggests involvement of the United States of America, and nothing suggests the New Zealand Government had turned its mind to extradition issues," Justice France said. "These are the key matters and there is no support for either contention."
Dotcom had alleged that he was granted residency in New Zealand as part of a plot involving the US government, on the grounds his extradition from this country would be easier than from Hong Kong, where he was based previously.
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