Internet entrepreneur and Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the US to face racketeering and criminal copyright charges, a New Zealand court ruled on Thursday.
The Court of Appeal rejected Dotcom’s petition and upheld a lower court ruling in 2017 that the extradition can take place, Reuters reports.
US authorities say Dotcom and three co-accused Megaupload executives cost film studios and record companies more than US$500 million and generated more than US$175 million by encouraging paying users to store and share copyrighted material.
In its ruling, the New Zealand Court of Appeal said the US had disclosed “a clear prima facie case that the appellants conspired to, and did, breach copyright willfully and on a large scale, for their commercial gain.
“An extradition hearing is not a trial. It is held to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to commit a person for trial on a qualifying offence,” the court said.
Dotcom’s lawyer Ira Rothken told Reuters via email that his client will appeal the decision in the country’s highest judiciary body, the Supreme Court.
“We look forward to seeking review with the New Zealand Supreme Court. We think that ultimately Kim Dotcom will prevail,” Rothken was quoted as saying.
Dotcom’s lawyers have argued in previous court cases that copyright infringement is not a criminal offence in New Zealand and that there was not enough evidence that Dotcom and other Megaupload executives conspired to commit a crime.
German-born Dotcom, who has New Zealand residency, became well known for his lavish lifestyle as much as his computer skills, Reuters noted.
Dozens of black-clad police raided Dotcom’s mansion in 2012, breaking him out of a safe room and confiscating millions of dollars in cash and property, including a fleet of luxury cars, computers and art work.
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