News24

Megaupload boss wants computers back

2012-05-22 17:27

Wellington - The founder of Megaupload file-sharing site that has been declared illegal by US officials asked a New Zealand judge on Tuesday to return 135 computers and hard drives seized by police when they arrested him, news reports said.

Kim Dotcom's lawyer filed a complaint at the High Court in Auckland against "excessive police action" in the January arrest. The defendant is awaiting an August hearing on an extradition request to face trial, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Paul Davison said Dotcom denied the US FBI charges of copyright infringement and money laundering, and insisted his website was legitimate.

He said the seized computers contained CCTV footage of the raids at his rented mansion. Dotcom is seeking judicial review of search warrants used by police when they arrested him on behalf of the FBI.

Davison said the seized material included thousands of e-mails, private information and family home movies going back decades.

"This was just a household emptied out," the lawyer said. "These are libraries of documents, the data storage... Do you take a whole library when you are looking for a book?"

Davison said the German-born Dotcom, who is a New Zealand resident, was protected by New Zealand common law and the Bill of Rights Act.

US attorneys whom Dotcom has engaged to defend him if the case goes to trial in the US flew to Auckland for the first time to attend the hearing, Radio Zealand reported.

Dotcom, 38, who changed his name from Schmitz, is on bail with three co-accused, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato.

The judge is expected to rule on his application for a judicial review by the end of the week.