The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected New Zealand-based internet mogul Kim Dotcom’s challenge to the U.S. government’s bid to seize assets held by him and others involved in the now-defunct streaming website Megaupload.
The court left in place a federal appeals court ruling that the US government could seize $40 million from accounts in Hong Kong and New Zealand as part of a civil forfeiture action. The founder of the now-defunct streaming site is currently fighting extradition to the US, where he faces arrest on a variety of copyright and money laundering charges.
Dotcom, a 43-year-old German born enterpreneur was arrested in a January 2012 raid on his mansion in New Zealand after the US handed down an indictment on criminal copyright violations and racketeering. He was indicted the same year along with fellow Megaupload executives.
“It’s no surprise because the chance to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court is very slim in general,” Dotcom said in an email.
“Kim Dotcom has never been to the United States, is presumed innocent, and is lawfully opposing extradition . . . yet the DOJ (Department of Justice) by merely labeling him as a fugitive gets a judgment to take all of his assets with no due process,” Rothken, Dotcom’s lawyer, said in an email.
US prosecutors say Megaupload cost Hollywood studios and other copyright owners $500 million by encouraging users to store pirated videos, music, software and other media and generated more than $175 million in profits by encouraging paying users to store and share it with others.
A New Zealand court ruled in February that Dotcom and three other New Zealand-based defendants — Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk — could be extradited to the United States to face the charges.