NZ court rules Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to US for alleged fraud

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By Charlotte Greenfield | WELLINGTON

WELLINGTON A New Zealand court ruled on Monday
that internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom could be extradited to the
United States to face charges relating to his Megaupload
website, which was shutdown in 2012 following an FBI-ordered
raid on his Auckland mansion.

The Auckland High Court upheld the decision by a lower court
in 2015 on 13 counts, including allegations of conspiracy to
commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering
and wire fraud, although it described that decision as “flawed”
in several areas.

Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said in a statement the
decision was “extremely disappointing” and that Dotcom would
appeal to New Zealand’s Court of Appeal.

U.S. authorities say Dotcom and three co-accused Megaupload
executives cost film studios and record companies more than $500
million and generated more than $175 million by encouraging
paying users to store and share copyrighted material.

High Court judge Murray Gilbert said that there was no crime
for copyright in New Zealand law that would justify extradition
but that the Megaupload-founder could be sent to the United
States to face allegations of fraud.

Dotcom’s co-accused, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and
Finn Batato were also found eligible for extradition.

“I’m no longer getting extradited for copyright. We won on
that. I’m now getting extradited for a law that doesn’t even
apply,” Dotcom said in a series of comments on Twitter.

Lawyers for Dotcom argued during the appeals hearing in
September that there was not enough evidence to show he
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

He used to post photographs of himself with cars having
vanity plates such as “GOD” and “GUILTY”, shooting an assault
rifle and flying around the world in his private jet.

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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