Kim Dotcom Loses Appeal Against Extradition To US

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

Game over for colourful character? Kim Dotcom loses latest court battle against his extradition to the US

Kim Dotcom, the charismatic founder of Megaupload, lost his latest court battle against extradition from New Zealand to the United States.

The Court of Appeal in New Zealand upheld the decision by a lower court that Dotcom and three others can be extradited to stand trial for copyright infringement and fraud.

It came after Kim Dotcom had declared in March that his extradition fight against a court order to be deported 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.

Legal setback

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.

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 in December against US and New Zealand authorities “for the destruction of Megaupload” and the constraints on his liberty for more than seven years.

Despite the latest legal setback, Dotcom still does have a chance to avoid extradition to the US, as Dotcom and his co-accused can resort to a review with the NZ Supreme Court.

“My legal team are confident that the Supreme Court will hear the appeal given there are such significant legal issues at stake,” Dotcom was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement.

Last chance

And it is also now up to New Zealand’s Justice Minister Andrew Little to decide whether extradition should take place.

And his decision could be subject to further court reviews.

And Dotcom is sure to explore very opportunity to fight any court order.

Earlier this year for example Dotcom filed an application for former US President Barack Obama to appear in court while Obama visited New Zealand.

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