Kim Dotcom's seized cars to be sold off

Proceeds of up to $6 million will be used to pay legal costs

Cars seized following the January police raid against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's rented Auckland mansion are to be sold off.

Computerworld understands that the proceeds of the sale, which according to an earlier police estimate could raise as much as $6 million, will be partly used to pay burgeoning legal costs as Dotcom prepares to defend US criminal copyright infringement charges.

Details of the planned car sale were revealed during a hearing at Auckland High Court today, in which Crown lawyers acting for the Commissioner of Police applied to register foreign restraining orders relating to the seizure of assets held by Dotcom and three other Megaupload defendants in New Zealand.

If the application is successful, Dotcom's assets could be held for up to two years.

But if the application fails, and there is no appeal, the assets would be returned to Dotcom.

Dotcom's lawyer Willie Akel, a senior partner at Simpson Grierson, submitted that the foreign restraining order had been authorised by the wrong person, and should have been signed off by the Attorney General or a specifically nominated person.

Crown lawyers argued that the authorisation was lawful as the Attorney General is able, in law, to delegate his responsibilities. They said it was appropriate for the Attorney General to do this in order to limit accusations of conflict of interest or political interference in criminal trials.

But Akel said such an order could only be signed off by someone who could properly consider the possible international and human rights implications of the case, including whether the foreign prosecution was politically motivated.

Justice Judith Potter reserved her decision.

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