David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Dotcoms seek extra cash for staffing

A Crown lawyer said that with $40,000 a month, Kim and Mona Dotcom lead an incredibly extravagant lifestyle. Photo / Supplied
A Crown lawyer said that with $40,000 a month, Kim and Mona Dotcom lead an incredibly extravagant lifestyle. Photo / Supplied

Mona Dotcom has sought a payment of $20,300 a month to cover the cost of butlers, nannies, a personal assistant and a chef.

The extra cash would come from the seized fortune of husband Kim Dotcom - money seized when he was arrested at the request of the FBI on charges of criminal copyright violation.

It would see the couple's monthly budget increase to $40,000 - a sum which lawyers acting for the police described as "incredibly extravagant".

The High Court at Auckland heard the Dotcoms had spent $540,000 in the last nine months to cover the cost of life in their north Auckland mansion. It was also told of likely delays to the extradition case which was now expected to be heard in July.

The couple's staff costs had previously been covered by the $40,000 a month payment from money which the police had missed during the raid and which was later voluntarily surrendered by Mr Dotcom. The money ran out in October - two months after the extradition case was originally meant to be heard.

Earlier rulings had allowed a $20,000-a-month payment to cover living expenses, which Mrs Dotcom's lawyer Aaron Lloyd said did not include the cost of staff.

He said the new money sought from the seized fortune was lower than previous costs because of a new arrangement to cover the cost of security guards. He said the fact Mr Dotcom was still "sucking air" had led to offers of support from outside.

Mr Lloyd said the couple had seven children in their care, a large home and considerable grounds.

Mr Dotcom's lawyer Rob Gapes said the couple had suffered severe disruption to their lives through enormous pressure by the New Zealand and United States governments.

Mr Gapes said: "The joint governmental action ... had exacted a real toll on the Dotcoms and their household. The have had to cut down on expenses but they still need and deserve a reasonable amount of these funds." The court was told six of Mr Dotcom's cars seized during the raid had been sold. The money along with interest on the seized fortune would cover the extra funds sought.

Crown lawyer Anne Toohey said the Dotcoms should be able to care for their own children, removing the need to pay for nannies.

"There is also public interest in what might be public funds."

The seized money defaults to the New Zealand Government on proof it is the proceeds of criminal funds.

Ms Toohey said the average cost for a family with seven children was $7800 a month.

She said money from the car sales should not be available to be used for the Dotcoms' expenses. After a tax bill of $99,000, she said it meant the available funds might not cover the extra cash sought.

Justice Potter said "it would be pretty hard not to include the lawn mower man" in the living expenses.

She asked for a report on the possible rental of the couple's neighbouring property.

- NZ Herald

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