Megaupload founder gains access to more funds to pay fees [Reuters]

A New Zealand court on Wednesday granted Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom access to an additional NZ$6 million ($4.84 million) to pay legal fees and living costs, loosening restrictions placed on the Internet tycoon under investigation by U.S. authorities for online piracy and fraud.

The funds will be secured against a NZ$10 million government bond. The court also allowed Dotcom to sell part of his stable of luxury cars confiscated when New Zealand authorities raided his home in January at the request of the U.S. government.

Dotcom, a 38-year-old German national also known as Kim Schmitz, was arrested during the raid. Most of his assets have been frozen as U.S. authorities claim the eccentric entrepreneur’s fortune has been gained through illegal activity.

The New Zealand high court last month ruled that the raid and evidence seizure were illegal.

Dotcom is fighting extradition to the United States, where he is accused of leading a group that netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, films and other copyrighted content online without authorization. His movements are restricted pending an extradition trial next March.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom talks to members of the media as he leaves the High Court in Auckland February 29, 2012. REUTERS/Simon Watts


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