New Zealand District Court Judge Nevin Dawson has ruled that Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom can be extradited to the USA to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering. The ruling isn’t itself a judgement on whether or not Dotcom is guilty of the charges made against him by US prosecutors, but means that the judge feels there to be sufficient evidence for a valid case to be brought against Dotcom in the USA.
However, Kim Dotcom remains positive and will be appealing against the judgement. The entrepreneur tweeted: “My team and I just had a good read of today’s court decision. Its weak and a Christmas gift in disguise. Woohoo!!”
The case will now move on to New Zealand’s High Court. The US copyright case against Megaupload has been rumbling on since the US Department of Justice shut down the file-hosting service on 19 January 2012, and seems set to continue well into the future.
New Zealand lawyer Ron Mansfield, who represented Kim Dotcom during the hearing, confirmed to the New Zealand Herald that “an appeal has been filed” on the grounds that “the judge has got the law wrong”.
Dotcom’s US lawyer Ira Rothkin told the Herald that the team was “very disappointed” by the ruling, saying that it leant on “cherry-picked evidence”
that ignored New Zealand’s safe harbour laws, intended to protect internet service providers from being held responsible for criminal activity perpetrated by their users.
The extradition order also includes Dotcom’s Megaupload colleagues and co-founders, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Fin Batato.