Tech mogul Kim Dotcom has appealed a US court ruling that seized vast amounts of his property and assets, including millions of dollars worth of cash, TVs, jet skis, luxury watches and sports cars.
Dotcom filed an appeal on Wednesday arguing the assets currently being held under American civil forfeiture law, were seized “improperly.”
The assets were initially seized in January 2012 when New Zealand law enforcement officials raided Dotcom’s mansion.
The operation was conducted at the behest of the FBI, which believes Dotcom was the kingpin of an internet piracy ring that earned $US175m providing access to illegally copied music and movies files.
Dotcom has constantly denied the accusation and went so far as to argue he is an “internet freedom fighter,” not a criminal, during an interview with Bloomberg in May.
Since the initial raid, Dotcom has been playing an ongoing legal game of cat and mouse with both the US and New Zealand courts attempting to unfreeze the assets.
Dotcom’s most recent attempt to regain control of the assets claims the “fugitive disentitlement” currently being used by the US courts does not apply to him as it requires the defendant to have fled the country or otherwise attempted to evade prosecution.
Dotcom’s legal team claims the US law does not apply as the Megaupload founder’s assets are not based in the US and he cannot be considered a fugitive if “he has never set foot in the United States.”
The appeal goes on to argue the US government is yet to prove any of the assets were acquired illegally, pointing out Dotcom has not been convicted of any actual crimes.
“Claimants have been convicted of no crime; they are asserting established procedural and substantive rights abroad; and the government has never proven that their property should be forfeited,” read the appeal.
Prior to the ruling, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service chief Rebecca Kitteridge had to apologise to Dotcom in June after he was called a “fatty po po” when he was arrested by the FBI in 2012.