New Zealand has decided to return some of the assets it seized from MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom, according to reports.
A high court there has bumped up the accused pirate's monthly living allowance from $20,000 in New Zealand currency to $60,000, the equivalent of $48,500 in U.S. currency, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald. In addition, the court is allowing him the use of one of his late-model Mercedes vehicles.
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 via piracy and seek to extradite DotCom to this country to stand trial. DotCom has denied wrongdoing and has said that MegaUpload was a legitimate cyberlocker service.
According to U.S. officials, the MegaUpload indictment is the largest Internet piracy case ever brought. The bump in living expenses is a victory for DotCom as this will help him pay for his defense. He has said in the past that his lawyers were working for free.
It is unclear whether the court's decision has anything to do with a procedural error made by police when they confiscated his property. They filed for the wrong kind of restraining order and the court ruled last week that the erroneous order was null and void, according to reports. New Zealand legal experts said that as a result, there was a chance authorities would have to return all of DotCom's property.
The money for DotCom's monthly allowance is coming from the interest accrued on the $10 million that DotCom invested in New Zealand government bonds.
Update 9:11 a.m. PT: The company hosting MegaUpload's files said this morning that it can't bear the financial burden any longer of maintaining the tremendous amount of user files without some help. Read about it here.