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28 Mar 2017 13:27
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  •   Home > News > Technology

    Kim Dotcom eligible for extradition: court

    The High Court has found there are grounds for internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to be extradited to the US, but he's claiming it as a victory.


    Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom will appeal after the High Court found there were grounds to extradite him and three co-accused to the United States on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

    The German-born founder of Megaupload was successful in his bid to block extradition on copyright infringement charges dating back to 2012, but his legal team say the overall outcome is "extremely disappointing".

    Dotcom, however, is claiming victory.

    "The major part of this litigation has been won by this judgement - that copyright is not extraditable," he told the New Zealand Herald.

    "We have won. We have won the major legal argument... I'm confident going with this judgement to the Court of Appeal."

    Dotcom was arrested following raids in January 2012, alongside co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Botato and accused of defrauding copyright holders and paying users to upload illegal files.

    The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has led the investigation and claim Megaupload is a criminal conspiracy that earned the men $175 million.

    They're each facing 13 charges.

    High Court Justice Murray Gilbert on Monday released findings upholding an earlier District Court decision that the four could be extradited on the racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering charges.

    But he supported an argument put forward by Dotcom's legal team that he couldn't be extradited on copyright infringement grounds because the allegation against him is not a criminal offence in New Zealand.

    Instead, in his more than 360 page judgement, Justice Gilbert found conspiracy to commit copyright infringement amounted to conspiracy to defraud which is an extradition offence, meaning ultimately Dotcom and his co-accused are still eligible to surrender on all charges.

    Dotcom took to Twitter moments after the judgement was released tweeting scales and a toilet emoji and saying "Extradition in a nutshell: we won but we lost anyway".

    "The US Supreme Court has ruled that copyright charges can't be fraud charges. Let's just ignore that minor detail in New Zealand," he said.

    Both Dotcom and his lawyer Ron Mansfield have questioned what the judgement means for internet service providers.

    "Dear New Zealand ISPs, based on today's High Court ruling you're Fraudsters. If your users engage in copyright infringement, call a lawyer," Dotcom said.

    ""New Zealand Copyright Law (92b) makes it clear that an ISP can't be criminally liable for actions of their users. Unless you're Kim Dotcom?"

    Mr Mansfield said the High Court accepted the Parliament made a clear and deliberate decision not to criminalise this alleged conduct by internet service providers, meaning they're not responsible for acts committed by users.

    "For the Court to then permit the same conduct to be classified as a type of fraud in our view disrupts Parliament's clear intent.

    "The High Court decision means that Parliament's intended protection for internet service providers is now illusory."

    Mr Mansfield said the final hurdle to overturning extradition will be determined by the Court of Appeal.

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity


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