New Zealand judge rules Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US
Dec 23, Wellington: A New Zealand judge ruled that internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three of his colleagues can be extradited to the United States to face criminal copyright charges.
Dotcom accused of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering, said he will appeal. He founded the now-defunct file-sharing site Megaupload where millions of people downloaded movies and songs.
US authorities said that Dotcom and others cost film studios and record companies more than $500m (£322m).
Dotcom’s judge Nevin Dawson's ruling came nearly four years after U.S. authorities shut down Dotcom's file-sharing website Megaupload, which was once one of the Internet's most popular sites.
Prosecutors said that it raked in at least $175 million, mainly from people using it to illegally download movies.
The U.S. has charged the men with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering. If found guilty, they could face decades in jail.
The case could have broader implications for Internet copyright rules. Dotcom's lawyer Ron Mansfield said earlier that if the U.S. side prevails, websites from YouTube to Facebook would need to more carefully police their content.
The case also raises questions about how far U.S. jurisdiction extends in an age when the Internet has erased many traditional borders. Dotcom says he has never set foot in the U.S.
New Zealand Justice Minister Amy Adams is required to sign-off on any extraditions. In a statement Wednesday, Adams said she would wait for the conclusion of any appeals before making a final decision, AP news repored.
As well as Dotcom, who founded Megaupload and was its majority shareholder, the U.S. is also seeking to extradite former Megaupload officers Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato.
The Oslo Times