David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Dotcom's wife wants gifts back

Mona Dotcom says many of her personal belongings were taken by police. Photo / Richard Robinson
Mona Dotcom says many of her personal belongings were taken by police. Photo / Richard Robinson

Kim Dotcom's wife Mona has applied to the courts for the return of her belongings seized when her husband was arrested on copyright charges, including a $202,000 Mercedes and a face sculpture valued at $100,000.

The court has already allowed Kim Dotcom to take an allowance for living expenses and one of the vehicles from the seized assets.

Now Mrs Dotcom wants her possessions returned.

"Many of my personal belongings were taken by the police, including artwork, jewellery and watches, a laptop computer and mobile phone, and my car," she said in papers filed with the court.

She said the couple had met in November 2007 and married on July 2009 - the day after her 21st birthday.

She told the court she wanted a 21st birthday present of small and large matching Christian Colin fibre-glass sculptures of a face to be returned. The smaller sculpture was the initial present, with the larger one valued at $100,000.

"Kim bought me the larger matching sculpture as what he called the better present when he was made aware that a bigger one existed."

The G55 Mercedes Benz was given to her for her 22nd birthday, according to her affidavit. "Originally I wanted a white one but I could only get a black one," she told the court.

Dotcom, who loved Mercedes cars, revealed in the documents "my wife does not have a driver's licence".

The court file shows the car was valued at $202,000 and had 234km on the odometer.

Mrs Dotcom's other birthday gifts included a Chanel diamond wristwatch for her 23rd. Other items taken from her jewellery case were to mark Christmas or anniversaries. Also confiscated was her laptop, a pink iPhone and a white-faced Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch.

The court files provide a detailed backdrop to an application by the Dotcoms to make use of some of the money seized by United States authorities.

A restraining order granted in the United States has been used here to freeze the Dotcoms' access to his considerable wealth. The FBI order estimated it as up to $175 million.

In a hearing in February, Dotcom was allowed $20,000 a month for living expenses. He was also allowed $40,000 from a $300,000 bank deposit missed by FBI investigators but voluntarily turned over by Dotcom.

The FBI has charged Dotcom with criminal copyright violation and has taken the position that his wealth is "tainted" because it was earned through crime.

An extradition hearing is set for August.

Mrs Dotcom said she had "no involvement" in Megaupload.

"I have always believed my husband's businesses are entirely lawful and I still believe this to be true." She said she believed Dotcom would not "risk doing anything that would hurt our family".

"I am simply asking the courts to return my own property and make reasonable provision for our family's ongoing maintenance and care."

Mrs Dotcom said the household was made up of 13 people - her, her husband, the couple's three children, her two young brothers and six staff. Since her affidavit was filed the household has grown by two more with the birth of her twins. Staff wages for the month added up to about $29,000.

But it was the cost of day-to-day living which proved most expensive, with $7000 a month spent on groceries, tanker water costing $1800 a month because the neighbourhood is not on town supply, and clothing and shoes at $700 a month.

Gas for heating and cooking cost $2000 a month and electricity $3500 a month. Phone calls from the landline were budgeted at $5000 - including toll calls.

The court files revealed some of the costs of the family's lifestyle, including rent of $1 million a year on the Coatesville mansion.

The last quarterly rent payment in February was met after a loan from a friend of Dotcom's. The next is due any day.

Dotcom also told the court he had spent about $6.5 million in modifications to the house. He said it cost about $600,000 a year to keep the house going. That included $1850 a week for lawn mowing and $4200 a week for three full-time gardeners - but not the $450 monthly cost of the olive grove.

It also emerged the money which Dotcom deposited in New Zealand as part of his residency scheme had earned $600,000 in its first year. With all his belongings seized, Inland Revenue sent him a bill for $198,000 as the tax department's share of his first year's interest earnings.

- NZ Herald

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