Kim DotCom Petitions NZ Court For Return of Assets
Megaupload's Kim DotCom may be in jail, but he's not giving up. The New Zealand Herald reports he has filed papers in the New Zealand High Court seeking the return of his seized funds and assets.
Papers have been filed with the High Court at Auckland which claim freezing orders used to seize his fortune have gone too far and money should be returned.
There are also more details of the commando-style arrest raid which according to past statements of New Zealand police, involved 76 officers.
Detective Inspector Grant Wormald [Organised & Financial Crime Agency} would not reveal why police carried out the surprise assault. However, he confirmed the Special Tactics Group - the most highly trained armed officers in the force - were involved.
The Herald was taken for a tour of the mansion, and has photos, including the panic room, the weapons vault, a wall the police busted through with a sledge-hammer and a broken glass door. It also interviewed the staff, who number around 50, and bodyguard Wayne Tempero, who took them on a tour and described what happened. The rifle in the vault belonged to Tempero, who is charged with illegal possession of a firearm and vehemently denies the charge, saying he had a license for it.
There are also allegations of removing the nannies from their beds at gunpoint with M4 automatic rifles and using dogs in the removal of the bodyguards. The photos show the splintered door frames to the nannies' rooms. Detective Inspector Grant Wormald responded:
He was unaware of claims that nannies had been confronted at gunpoint or Dotcom's security guards had been transported with dogs. "If these allegations are true, there is a manner in which a complaint can be made. I don't believe the accuracy is necessarily there." He said the allegations would be investigated if a formal complaint was made.
As to DotCom's 7 month pregnant wife and the children present,
Officers hammered at the Dotcoms' bedroom door as, across the grand stairwell, Mona Dotcom emerged from the room she slept in during her pregnancy....She was able to put on a dressing gown before being led downstairs to join others on the grass. Tempero said the pregnant woman stood for about an hour in drizzle, overseen by two armed police officers.
Officers had also secured Mona Dotcom's two younger brothers, aged 11 and 14. Tempero said the boys were playing XBox in Dotcom's games room when confronted by officers, who directed them outside with rifle muzzles.
Tempero says the police sent Mona and the kids to a guest house on the property. They also cut off all the phone lines. She became ill, but there were no phones to call for help.
Tempero said he went to the mansion about 10.30pm to ask remaining police for help. "I went to them and said Mrs Dotcom needs to go to hospital. They said you need to ring 111 and call an ambulance," said Tempero.
He returned to the other house where, eventually, a cellphone was found. It took more than 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive and take her to North Shore Hospital.
We're accustomed to these kind of raids and commando tactics in the U.S., particularly in drug cases. They happen daily. I don't think they are as customary in New Zealand. There were four FBI agents in New Zealand working with the New Zealand police for at least a week before the raid. They may not have been present during the arrests (according to Wormald), but he's acknowledged they were involved in the planning of the 76 officer raid. Put another way, it sounds like the NZ police were marionettes and the FBI agents were the ones pulling their strings.
More on New Zealand's Special Tactics Group (funded in 2002 to respond to terrorism) here.
The STG provides a 'tactical capability' ie; the management of a situation. They also deal with armed incidents beyond the capability of the Armed Offender Squads, and provides protection to high risk persons. STG staff also collect information about criminal activities.
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