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Kim Dotcom Loses Extradition Battle To US

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Merry Christmas! New Zealand court rules the US can have him, but Kim pledges appeal

Kim Dotcom, the charismatic founder of Megaupload, has lost his legal battle against extradition to the United States.

The court proceedings began in September and comes after years of legal manoeuvres by both Kim Dotcom and US authorities. Kim is wanted in the United States for copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering.

Court Ruling

The court in Auckland New Zealand ruled this week that Kim Dotcom is eligible to be extradited to the United States to face multiple charges.

Judge Nevin Dawson reportedly said the US has a “large body of evidence” supporting the case and that the defendants “fall well short of undermining the case”.

The German is being pursued by US authorities because of his cloud storage service Megaupload, which was closed down in early 2012.

The US alleges this website cost Hollywood film studios and record companies more than $500m (£322m), and generated $175m (£113m) by allowing users to store and share copyright material.

Dotcom fought a lengthy battle with the US against his deportation, and was quoted by the BBC as saying that he was disappointed with the court judgement, but that he would fight the ruling, and would have the US request for extradition reviewed in the High Court.

Three other men, who co-founded the site with Dotcom and face similar charges, have also been ruled as eligible for extradition to the United States.

Dotcom and his co defendants remain on police bail in the meantime.

Colourful Life

kim-dotcomKim Dotcom is unquestionably a colourful character. For example, Dotcom insisted on bringing his own chair to the court room, citing “ergonomic reasons”.

Megaupload was closed down in early 2012, and Dotcom was arrested by New Zealand police on orders from the US. His mansion was also raided. But Dotcom repeatedly won subsequent legal tussles that have, until now, prevented his extradition to the United States.

In September 2012, Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, apologised to Dotcom for unlawfully spying on him. New Zealand law prohibits spying on citizens or those who, like Dotcom, have a residence class visa.

And in June 2012, a New Zealand High Court declared the search warrants used in the raid on Dotcom’s mansion were “invalid”. In May 2013, Dotcom regained access to evidence seized during those raids.

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