Paperwork goof may mean Kim DotCom can reclaim assets

Incorrect court order, issued to seize assets of the MegaUpload founder, is now "null and void." As a result, the New Zealand government may be required to return his belongings.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read
New Zealand authorities may be forced to return Kim DotCom's cash and cars as a result of a procedural error. Screen shot by Greg Sandoval

Authorities in New Zealand have acknowledged making a procedural error prior in seizing property belonging to MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom, and the mistake could mean the government will now be required to return them.

Police arrested DotCom at the mansion he lived in outside Auckland on January 19 at the request of the United States government. The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that DotCom is the mastermind of a criminal enterprise designed to help the masses pirate music and movies. U.S. officials say he made millions from piracy and seek to extradite DotCom to this country to stand trial.

Following the raid on DotCom's home, police were photographed removing cash, Cadillacs, jet skis, artwork and scores of other valuables from his home. In addition, they shut down the MegaUpload site and threw DotCom into jail, where he stayed until being released on bail a month later.

New Zealand police filed for the wrong kind of restraining order--the kind that didn't allow for DotCom to have a court hearing prior to the seizure--and that was a mistake, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald.

A court has now ruled that the restraining order that enabled police to seize his assets is "null and void," and a review of the mistakes made will soon be conducted by New Zealand's attorney general, according to the Herald.

The paper noted that there's no guarantee that DotCom will prevail. His lawyers must prove the absence of good faith when the procedural error was made.

There was no word on when a decision on this may come down.