Kim Dotcom faces extradition to U.S. after NZ court decision

Written by Lars Brandle on 5th July, 2018
Kim Dotcom faces extradition to U.S. after NZ court decision

Kim Dotcom, the flamboyant entrepreneur and self-styled “Internet freedom fighter,” will have to take his fight to the U.S. legal system. After a years-long legal stoush that has been heard in three separate New Zealand courts, Dotcom lost his latest round and now faces extradition to the U.S.

New Zealand’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld the decision that Dotcom and three others can be extradited to stand trial for copyright infringement and fraud, charges they strenuously deny.

Dotcom’s attorney Ira Rothken tweeted his disappointment and vowed to seek review with the NZ Supreme Court. In an email to told Reuters, Rothken also confirmed his client would appeal the decision. “We think that ultimately Kim Dotcom will prevail,” he said.

On Wednesday, the court issued a written decision rejecting Dotcom’s appeal and upheld a lower court ruling in 2017 that the accused men can be sent to the U.S. to stand trial. Pressure is now on New Zealand’s Justice Minister Andrew Little to decide whether extradition proceedings should commence.

The charges stem from the German-Finnish giant’s now defunct fire-sharing website Megaupload, which U.S. authorities shut down six years ago and subsequently filed charges of conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering against its operators. The U.S. claims that Dotcom, Mattias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato were involved in a criminal network that lost copyright holders more than an estimated $500 million.

Depending on which side you sit, Dotcom is either an enemy of the state and creators who needs to be punished for his actions, or a larger-than- life champion for a free Internet.

Dotcom has claimed he’s the target of a conspiracy and he’s not without supporters (and a 20-strong legal team). The 6’ 7” entrepreneur was living in New Zealand when, in January 2012, he was arrested by local police on behalf of the FBI, and his mansion was raided.

Dotcom has always denied wrongdoing and that he should ever face trial in the United States. “I never lived there, I never traveled there I had no company there, But all I worked for now belongs to the U.S.,” he wrote in a pinned tweet back in March 2015. That year, the NZ district court ruled that Dotcom and his colleagues were eligible for extradition on the charges.

The six-year legal row has, at times, moved at a snail’s pace, but seen as a test for how far the United States can reach to protect U.S. businesses’ copyright-protected goods.

Dotcom believes the U.S. and NZ have overstepped the mark. Just ahead of Wednesday’s court ruling, Dotcom, who was born Kim Schmidt and legally changed his surname in 2005, tweeted: “2375 days since the raid. 2345 days on bail. 670 times bail reporting. 165 total days in Court. 40 million in legal fees. Was all of the above done to me and my family against the law?”

In an earlier challenge, the NZ High Court accepted Dotcom’s argument that the online communication of copyright protected works to the public is not a criminal offense in New Zealand, but the judge found the evidence sufficient to establish a prima facie case.

The article was originally published on The Industry Observer