After many years of legal wrangling over Kim Dotcoms Megaupload service, a New Zealand court has decided that he should be extradited to stand trial in the US.
Judge Nevin Dawson made the ruling today. He had previously granted Dotcom bail in 2012 to wait for the final ruling, but the judgement today makes a real trial in the US one step closer.
Since Megaupload closed in 2012 at the FBI’s behest, Dotcom and four employees were charged with racketeering and money laundering as a result of creating a site that encourage people to upload copyrighted content.
As the complaint goes: “the conspirators allegedly paid users whom they specifically knew uploaded infringing content, and publicised their links to users throughout the world”.
The full complaint, and evidence against the group, is available online. It contains emails between co-founders that suggest ways to reward users for sharing pirated content, and the group creating features that hid the extent of piracy on Megaupload.
Dotcom has been resident in New Zealand since 2010 when he was given residency for investing $10 million in the country. It since emerged that the request was granted due to political pressure.
Today’s ruling comes despite Dotcom’s claims that he could not defend himself properly because his money was confiscated, and the fact that the raid on his home was unlawful.
New Zealand apparently spied on his residence unlawfully, and is said to have destroyed evidence as the trial was underway.
The judgement regarding the extradition however is not final. The New Zealand Justice Minister Amy Adams must first endorse the decision before it can be carried out.
Dotcom is certain to appeal the judgement, and told the New Zealand Herald that he will fight the ruling with his recently-released funds in Hong Kong.