April 23, 2021

New Zealand: Kim Dotcom claims victory even as court rules he can be ‘surrendered to the US’

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FILE PHOTO – German tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom sits in a chair during a court hearing in Auckland, New Zealand, September 24, 2015. REUTERS/Nigel Marple/File Photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

From Business Live NZ

Court says internet entrepreneur did not commit a copyright offence under New Zealand law, but is eligible for extradition from the South Pacific nation

Wellington — Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom claimed a “major victory” in his long-running battle to avoid extradition to the US even as another New Zealand court ruled he is eligible for removal from the South Pacific nation.

The High Court said on Monday that Dotcom and his co-accused, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato, are “eligible for surrender to the US,” upholding a District Court ruling from December 2015. But the court found in favour of the appellants on the issue of copyright infringement, saying they had not committed an offence under New Zealand law. Rather, they were eligible for extradition on the grounds of conspiracy to defraud.

“I told you I can’t be extradited for copyright and I was right,” Dotcom tweeted after the ruling. “I’ll be watching as the legal profession dissects this extradition judgment in a copyright case that is no longer a copyright case.”

The US is seeking Dotcom’s extradition from New Zealand over his now defunct file-sharing website Megaupload.com, which is alleged to have been the vehicle for the biggest copyright infringement in US history. Monday’s court ruling comes five years after a dawn raid on the flamboyant German millionaire’s Auckland mansion by armed police, who were acting on information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Pink Cadillac

Police used helicopters in the raid and seized millions of dollars worth of assets, famously including a 1959 pink Cadillac.

Prosecutors allege that Megaupload, which once accounted for 4% of all internet traffic, generated more than $175m in criminal proceeds from the exchange of pirated films, music and files. Dotcom and his co-accused have always maintained their innocence.

The High Court on Monday agreed that Dotcom did not breach New Zealand copyright laws and that “the appellants have therefore succeeded with one of the main planks of their case”.

“However, the High Court has found that a conspiracy to commit copyright infringement amounts to a conspiracy to defraud and is therefore an extradition offence listed in the US-NZ [New Zealand] treaty,” it said.

In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Dotcom said he was now “confident going with this judgment to the Court of Appeal,” and predicted another two years of litigation.

“They destroyed my family, destroyed my business, spied on me and raided my home and they did all of this on a civil copyright case,” Dotcom told the Herald. “We have won the major legal argument.”


IMAGE: German tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom at court hearing in Auckland, New Zealand. File Picture: REUTERS

For more on this story go to: http://www.businesslive.co.za//bd/companies/2017-02-20-kim-dotcom-claims-victory-even-as-court-rules-he-can-be-surrendered-to-the-us/

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