updated 09:15 pm EDT, Mon April 30, 2012
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Kim Dotcom, Megaupload's beleaguered founder, will have some of his assets returned. Judge Judith Potter, the New Zealand High Court judge assigned to the asset seizure issue, reversed her previous decision on the matter and declared that a court-ordered seizure in January and a backup order filed in February were invalid and should not be enforced.
Over NZ$1,000,000 ($818,000) in assets and property is due to be returned directly to Dotcom. In addition, an NZ$20,000 ($16,000) monthly living allowance earned from the interest on NZ$10,000,000 ($8,180,000) in government bonds is being released. Dotcom's wife will have her maternity medical bills paid, and will have her seized vehicle returned.
Shortly after the High Court hearing last week, The New Zealand Herald reported that the current minister for Small Business and Regulatory Reform, John Banks, received NZ$50,000 ($41,000) in two equal donations for his mayoral campaign from Dotcom. In a brief published statement, Banks denied having called Dotcom to thank him for the donation, but did admit to contacting him on other matters.
Dotcom was convicted of insider trading and embezzlement by the German court system in 2003 in unrelated matters. The initial Megaupload shutdown occurred on January 19. Prior to shutdown, Megaupload was the world's biggest file repository on the internet, and was allegedly responsible for up to four percent of Internet traffic.
Dotcom is currently free on bail while fighting extradition to the United States. Two weeks ago during an extradition hearing, a US judge questioned the inevitability of Dotcom being tried in the United States. In an interview with the New Zealand Herald shortly after his Megaupload arrest, Dotcom claimed that he's been demonified by US media in conjunction with the MPAA and RIAA.