A New Zealand High Court judge has ruled the police raids on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's mansion north of Auckland this year were illegal.
During the raid, police seized computers, phones and anything which appeared to contain a hard drive - a total of 135 items.
Mr Dotcom was arrested in January when 70 police raided his mansion during an investigation into the Megaupload website.
Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled the search warrants were too broad and police exceeded their powers in seizing what they did.
The warrants, she said, "fell well short" of sufficiently describing the related offences.
“They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid,” she said in her judgment (pdf).
She also found the removal of cloned hard drive images by the FBI to the United States was unlawful.
The police declined to comment.
Dotcom's lawyer, Ira Rothken, confirmed the news today via Twitter.
"The NZ High Court found that the search warrants of @KimDotcom were invalid, the search/seizure was illegal, & US HD removal from NZ illegal," he wrote.
Mr Rothken says the ruling supported the view that New Zealand police were acting on the beck and call of the FBI.
German national Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, was one of four men arrested in January as part of an investigation of his Megaupload.com website led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Prosecutors say Dotcom was the ringleader of a group that had netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization.
Dotcom’s lawyers say the company simply offered online storage.