tvnz.co.nz on April 11, 2012 released the following:
“Source: ONE News
More than $1 million has so far been spent on the extradition case for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom.
The United States wants to extradite Dotcom on copyright, money laundering and racketeering charges arising from his internet business and he is awaiting a hearing.
New Zealand Crown lawyers have been battling on behalf of the US Government, and figures obtained by ONE News under the Official Information Act show the figure has already reached more than $1,120,000.
In total, 13 Crown lawyers have been involved with the case including the two senior counsel in court, the Solicitor General and Deputy Solicitor General and nine other lawyers.
Based on Crown Law office information on lawyers’ time, ONE News estimates their cost at nearly one million dollars so far. Added to that is $70,000 for Dotcom’s arrest and seizure of his assets, another $62,000 to store and insure those assets and just over $20,000 on costs such as travel and accommodation for the Crown’s legal team.
The cost is being met by the New Zealand Government because of a 1970 treaty which says it will pay for extradition cases here on behalf of the United States, while the US Government will pay costs when New Zealand wants people extradited from America.
The reciprocal deal is not universally popular, however.
“If the case is being brought on behalf of the overseas government, and for the benefit of the overseas government, than they should be paying the cost,” extradition lawyer Grant Illingworth told ONE News.
With another five months of legal wrangling ahead legal professionals believe this could be the most expensive extradition case ever heard in New Zealand.
Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff said the situation could prove expensive for the Government.
“The problem in this case is that while the United States is calling the shots, it’s the New Zealand taxpayer that meets the cost and potential liability. I hope the government’s got the process right,” he told ONE News.
The Government says the costs of the case are “non-billable”, so no actual money will be changing hands. Rather, it says the costs will be absorbed into its legal budget.
Dotcom is currently under house arrest at his Coatesville home, although he was recently granted permission to use a swimming pool in a neighbouring property and make occasional visits to a recording studio to finish work on an album.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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