16 Aug 2012

FBI must show Dotcom evidence to be used against him

5:19 pm on 16 August 2012

The High Court has ruled America's Federal Bureau of Investigation must let MegaUpload founder, Kim Dotcom, see evidence to be used against him in his extradition case.

Justice Winkelmann has just released her ruling on a request by the Crown, representing the FBI, for a review of an earlier court order to disclose evidence in the case.

The Crown had argued it did not need to let Mr Dotcom see certain documents, which his defence says it needs to prepare for his the extradition hearing to the US.

Justice Winkelmann says without disclosure, Mr Dotcom would be significantly constrained in his ability to participate in the hearing, and the requesting state would have a significant advantage.

She has dismissed the Crown's application.

Dotcom's legal bill $2.7m so far

Mr Dotcom's have already clocked up $2.7 million in legal fees, and say they expect that figure to double.

Mr Dotcom is back in court seeking access to $10 million of his money.

The internet entrepreneur is facing extradition to the United States and his funds frozen since his arrest in January.

Mr Dotcom's lawyer, Willie Akel, says his client has had all his assets and property restrained, his multi-million dollar business shut down, and has been deprived of income to pay for legal expenses.

Mr Akel told the High Court in Auckland on Thursday that US authorities are holding Mr Dotcom to ransom by offering to release his funds only when he is extradited to America.

He is asking the court for a variation in his client's restraining order to allow him access to a $10 million New Zealand Government bond.

Mr Akel says the bond will have to stay secured, as it has formed part of Mr Dotcom's residency application, but he wants to be able to borrow against it.

Crown lawyers acting on behalf of the FBI are yet to make their submissions at the day-long hearing.