Dotcom's wife wants $40,000 a month for another year
Kim Dotcom's wife wants the Crown to allow a living allowance of $40,000 a month for at least a year, as the internet mogul's extradition hearing stretches further into the distance.
Since the High Court first made orders concerning the Dotcom's living expenses in April, the couple have been receiving an allowance of $20,000 a month from their restrained funds.
On top of that, they were also granted $40,000 a month to cover security and domestic staff costs – a total of $60,000.
But the $300,000 fund that money was being released from each month has now run out, Mona Dotcom's lawyer Aaron Lloyd told Auckland High Court today.
He said Mrs Dotcom is now asking for just half the $40,000 monthly sum they say they need to cover security and domestic staff cost ($20,000), having struck a deal to defer payments to the security firm they employ.
The security firm will be paid at a later date, once Mr Dotcom's new business is up and running, Mr Lloyd said.
Mr and Mrs Dotcom are both present at Auckland High Court as the application is being made before Justice Judith Potter, who has returned from her retirement to hear the application.
Mr Dotcom's vast bank accounts and assets remain frozen while he fights extradition to the US, where authorities want to charge him for criminal copyright infringement and money laundering of some $US500 million in relation to his file-sharing website Megaupload.
Mr Lloyd said when the original orders for living expenses were made in April, it was expected Mr Dotcom's extradition hearing would be heard in August.
That hearing has now been delayed until at least March and the couple needed the allowance to continue for another year, by which stage it is hoped he will have gained citizenship, Mr Lloyd said.
Justice Potter, who made the original orders for living allowances, asked what the $40,000 monthly allowance had been spent on.
Mr Lloyd said it had all been used to pay security and domestic staff at their home which includes nannies, cooks, maids and a butler each.
"This is money that has gone into the pockets of the employees," Mr Lloyd said. "If these orders aren't made there are consequences on other people."
In considering the application this afternoon, Justice Potter has to establish reasonableness of the Dotcom's request.
Crown lawyer Anne Toohey said the $40,000 allowance the Dotcom's were seeking each month was more than 2.5 times the amount the average New Zealand household lived on a month.
Staff expenses should not count as living costs, Ms Toohey said.
The High Court has already allowed Mr Dotcom $6 million from a seized government bond to pay his lawyers and cover his lifestyle costs.
In August, Justice Potter allowed Mr Dotcom access to $3.6 million for his legal costs, $123,000 for his wife’s legal costs and $1 million for rent due on his Coatesville mansion. This money was additional to the monthly allowance.
The money was released from a $10 million government bond, which was seized by police when he was arrested on copyright charges in January.
The judgment also allowed Mr Dotcom to sell some of his prized cars, including a 2009 Mercedes E500 and a 2008 Rolls Royce Coupe.
Today, Mr Lloyd said six of those cars had been sold in the last two days, for a total of $363,000, which would top up restrained funds available through the Official Assignee to $1 million.
That should help to meet the allowance being sought, he said.
Justice Potter adjourned proceedings until she receives further evidence from Mr Lloyd and Ms Toohey to help her consider the application.
This includes an update from the Official Assignee assessing the Dotcom's financial situation out to November 2013, an update on staff numbers and where they are hosued and a breakdown of spending from a RaboDirect bank account to which the $40,000 monthly allowance was released.