Kim Dotcom Fights U.S. Government’s Attempt to Seize $67 Million in Assets
Although Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has had a rough few months, he at least is in the comfort of his New Zealand mansion rather than a United States jail cell awaiting prosecution for criminal…
Although Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has had a rough few months, he at least is in the comfort of his New Zealand mansion rather than a United States jail cell awaiting prosecution for criminal copyright infringement. No telling exactly when Dotcom will be extradited, but there could nevertheless soon be some courtroom activity examining allegations and evidence against Megaupload and its executives.
That’s because in late July, the United States brought a new civil complaint for forfeiture in rem, a maneuver to firmly establish hold over some $67 million in Megaupload’s seized assets including money from bank accounts around the world, luxury cars, big televisions, watches, artwork and other property. To prevail, the government won’t need to convict Dotcom; only show that the proceeds derive from illegal activity — namely the scheme it calls the “Mega Conspiracy.”
On Friday, Dotcom’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.
“In resorting to civil forfeiture, the Government veers further astray,” states a memorandum. “Notably, the Government is going after foreign assets that lie beyond reach of the Court’s in rem jurisdiction, based on allegations that surpass the outer limit of the law and are in any event divorced from the foreign assets at issue.”
Unlike Dotcom’s past attempt to dismiss the criminal complaint, based on an unsuccessful argument that the government failed to serve a summons properly, the defendants’ lawyers likely won’t have the problem of standing, fighting without Dotcom showing up in Virginia.
Still, because the government needs only show that there is a probable cause that the property is subject to forfeiture, Dotcom’s lawyers will probably be the ones facing the bigger legal burden here. Their goal isn’t necessarily to demonstrate
Dotcom’s innocence, but rather to attack the government’s basis for asserting a crime, knowledge of the property’s illegal use or connection to a crime.