New Zealand’s highest court has begun hearing final bid to halt extradition of Kim Dotcom to the US
Kim Dotcom, the charismatic founder of Megaupload, has on Monday began his final court battle against extradition from New Zealand to the United States.
German-born Dotcom, who has residency status in New Zealand, has been fighting a series of legal battles after he and three other men (Mattias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato) who co-founded Megaupload lost their legal battle in late 2015 against extradition to the United States, where Dotcom is wanted for copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering.
Last July the Court of Appeal in New Zealand upheld that decision, leaving Dotcom and his defendants little choice but to appeal the case to New Zealand’s highest judicial body, the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in New Zealand will begin hearing the case on Monday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The five presiding justices were told by the defence team that the charges did not constitute extraditable offences under New Zealand law.
The hearing is set for a week and a decision is expected to take months.
If the Supreme Court does not halt the extraditions, it will be up to New Zealand’s Justice Minister Andrew Little to decide whether extradition should take place. He has so far declined to comment while the case is ongoing.
The legal case has been a protracted affair ever since 2012.
In March 2018 Dotcom for example declared that his extradition fight to the United States was “over”. That declaration came when the Human Rights Tribunal in New Zealand ruled that the Attorney-General had broken the law by withholding information from Kim Dotcom.
The US allege the Megaupload 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.
Megaupload was closed down in early 2012, and Dotcom was arrested by New Zealand police on orders from the US. His mansion in New Zealand was also raided.
But in Autumn 2016 Dotcom launched an appeal against that extradition ruling, and has also has filed claims for damages of roughly $10bn against US and New Zealand authorities “for the destruction of Megaupload” and the constraints on his liberty.
And Dotcom has come up with plenty of inventive ways to highlight his case.
In 2018 for example Dotcom filed an application for former US President Barack Obama to appear in court whilst Obama visited New Zealand.
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