Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US to face copyright charges, New Zealand judge rulesComments Off on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US to face copyright charges, New Zealand judge rules
Kim Dotcom, the entrepreneur behind one of the world’s most powerful file-sharing websites, can be extradited to the US to answer criminal copyright charges, a New Zealand judge has ruled.
The decision to clear the way for the Megaupload founder and three colleagues’ extradition comes nearly four years after the US closed down the website, after Kiwi police stormed Dotcom’s mansion in Auckland at the request of the FBI.
US prosecutors say Megaupload, which people used to download films and music, cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million (£337 million) and made more than £117 million from its users.
The men have been charged with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering. If found guilty, they could face decades in jail.
Flamboyant Dotcom, who has had more than $50 million in assets frozen and is a household name in New Zealand, says he will appeal the decision. “This is my weirdest Xmas ever,” he said on Twitter.
Judge Dawson made his decision after a nine-week hearing. The judge did not have to decide on whether the men were guilty or innocent but only on whether the US had a valid case.
Dotcom’s lawyer said earlier that if the US side won, then companies like YouTube and Facebook would need to police their content more carefully.
The case also raises questions over how far US jurisdiction extends in the internet age. Dotcom says he has never set foot in the US.