Movie studios want global picture of Dotcom’s assets

The New Zealand lawyer for several major Hollywood Studios says his clients want to know where Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s money is coming from.

Chapman Tripp’s Matt Sumpter told the High Court at Auckland today his clients want a global picture of Mr Dotcom’s assets because it is clear he lives extravagantly.

He says Mr Dotcom has said he funded the Internet Party to the tune of $4 million and promised a $US5 million bounty for information to help his case, and this shows that Mr Dotcom has some assets which aren't frozen.

Mr Sumpter is representing six major Hollywood studios including Twentieth Century Fox Film, Disney and Paramount who are taking an action in the US for copyright.

The movie studios together allege Mr Dotcom and his associates made more than $US175 million through Megaupload, which sold premium accounts and dished out cash incentives to uploaders but delivered no money to artists or their record labels or movie studios.

A parallel action is also being taken by recording companies who are represented in New Zealand by Hudson Gavin Martin founder Mark Gavin.

Negotiations have begun around freezing orders for Mr Dotcom's assets, but Mr Sumpter says since the original application, Mr Dotcom has made public statements suggesting he has further un-constrained assets.

In an urgent application heard this morning before Justice Patricia Courtney, Mr Sumpter said the court should “shed a little light” on what these assets are. 

Mr Dotcom told media he has a US$5 million bounty for information relationg to the case, and that Mr Dotcom said there would be a trust account for those funds, Mr Sumpter said.

He also told media his personal funding of the Internet Party was $3 million plus $1 million before the party was registered (the Electorial Commission website records three donations totalling $3.25 million).

“It’s quite clear to every New Zealander that Mr Dotcom has a penchant for living extravagantly,” Mr Sumpter told the court, adding that Mr Dotcom's Twitter account demonstrates that – for example Mr Dotcom took a helicopter from Coatesville for his recent Queenstown holiday.

Mr Sumpter outlined overseas and local precedent to support his contention that Justice Courtney has the jurisdiction to help the Virginia Court where the US action began.

That action has been stayed, or held off, pending other court actions against the German entrepreneur.

The High Court proceeding continues, with arguments for Mr Dotcom expected to be delivered by Simpson Grierson special counsel Tracey Walker. 

vyoung@nbr.co.nz

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