A court in New Zealand has ordered Kim Dotcom to be extradited to the U.S. The tech entrepreneur is perhaps best known for the file-sharing website Megaupload, which he created in 2005. U.S. officials have been trying to extradite him from New Zealand for years, and the Auckland High Court has upheld the ruling made by the lower court in New Zealand in 2015.
Kim Dotcom to face fraud charges
Megaupload was shut down in 2012, but only after millions of users uploaded digital content such as music, movies and TV shows and shared it with others. Kim Dotcom founded the file-sharing site in Hong Kong and then was granted residency in New Zealand in 2010.
Dotcom, whose birth name was Kim Schmitz, is due to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, and fraud in the U.S. According to the BBC, the High Court ruled that he can be extradited on the fraud charges, but not the allegations of copyright infringement because “online communication of copyright protected works to the public is not a criminal offence in New Zealand.”
The New Zealand court also ruled that three others accused in the Megaupload case can also be extradited, also upholding that part of the earlier court ruling. Dotcom and the other three accused said they will fight the ruling. The other three who face charges in the case are Finn Batato, Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann. If they are convicted, they could face decades in prison.
Kim Dotcom claims the court ruling is a victory
The three men have always said they are innocent, arguing that they aren’t responsible for what Megaupload users shared over their website.
Ortmann reportedly said in an email, “We’re not pirates, we’re just providing shipping services to pirates according to the New Zealand Herald.
Kim Dotcom tweeted after the ruling, calling it a win for his case but saying that they had “lost anyway” because of a “political judgement.” In an exclusive interview with the New Zealand Herald, he went so far as to describe it as a “major victory” because of the judge’s ruling that New Zealand doesn’t have a law equivalent to the U.S. law regarding violation of copyrights.
The legal case there has been whether there are laws that match the U.S. laws they are accused of breaking.
“The major part of this litigation has been won by this judgment,” Kim Dotcom told the Herald. “That copyright is not extraditable. They destroyed my business, spied on me and raided my home and they did all of this on a civil copyright case.”
He added that they had won the “major legal argument” and calls the ruling “an embarrassment for New Zealand.” Additionally, he claims that the ruling is a court statement saying they hadn’t broken any laws in the country.
The original warrant served on Dotcom upon his arrest in 2012 gave a charge of “copyright” offenses, and upon extradition to the U.S., he is expected to face allegations of criminal copyright infringement. He argues that they plan to file another court action in relation to the arrest warrant because it shows he was arrested for a crime that doesn’t exist in New Zealand.