Megaupload seeks return of millions in frozen Hong Kong assets

Hong Kong's Department of Justice has until June 4 to respond

Megaupload, the defunct file-storage site, is asking a Hong Kong court to release millions of dollars in assets as part of efforts to allow its former users to reclaim their data.

The company's assets were frozen by Hong Kong at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice around January 2012 after its operators, including founder Kim Dotcom, were indicted by U.S. prosecutors for allegedly profiting from large-scale copyright infringement.

On Wednesday, the High Court ordered Hong Kong's Department of Justice to respond to Megaupload's filing by June 4.

Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken said in a phone interview the move is part of a long-running effort to allow Megaupload to restart its servers so users can reclaim their data, unavailable since the site was shutdown.

The company has maintained that Hong Kong should have never seized the assets since the U.S. did not properly serve Megaupload with a criminal summons. U.S. federal criminal procedures dictate that a summons can only be served within the U.S., and the company was registered in Hong Kong.

Rothken said Megaupload waited more than two years to file such a request to give time for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to rule on whether consumers can get their data back. The court has not addressed the issue since 2012, Rothken said.

"We are deeply concerned that as the days go by that consumers are being further and further prejudiced because they don't have access to their data," Rothken said. "We believe that the servers that still exist could be eroding."

Allowing consumers access to their data will cost money for bandwidth and hosting, Rothken said. But the greatest cost is having a qualified e-discovery contractor copy the servers to preserve the data as evidence at trial. The estimates Megaupload has solicited have been in the millions of dollars, he said.

Some of Megaupload's data is gone. One of its hosting providers, LeaseWeb in the Netherlands, repurposed servers allocated to Megaupload after efforts to secure payment were unsuccessful.

Rothken said Megaupload doesn't have "full transparency" on what data remains, although many servers that were located on the U.S. East Coast and Canada remain stacked in warehouses, with the U.S. DOJ in "constructive control," he said.

The U.S. is seeking extradition of Dotcom and his colleagues, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk. All remain in New Zealand where an extradition hearing is scheduled for July.

The men are charged with criminal copyright infringement, money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Criminalmegauploadintellectual propertysecurityCivil lawsuitslegal

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?