Megaupload founder and three senior operators expected in court over US request in August
US federal prosecutors have filed a formal request to extradite the Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom from New Zealand.
Three others; Finn Batato, the site’s chief marketing officer, Bram van der Kolk, who oversaw programming, and Mathias Ortmann, Megaupload’s co-founder and director, were also included in the extradition request filed at the North Shore District Court near Auckland.
Crown Law, the firm handling the prosecution for US authorities, was permitted 45 days to request extradition from the date of the initial arrests, and filed on the deadline last Friday. According to TorrentFreak, New Zealand law only permits extradition if a crime carries a prison sentence greater than four years. Based on the country’s Copyright Act, the defendants would face a five year maximum sentence if found guilty.
Prosecutors allege that Dotcom and his colleagues ran a “Mega Conspiracy”, profiting from piracy facilitated through their site to the tune of $175 million (£111m), according to Bloomberg. Additionally, an early indictment claimed that Megaupload’s copyright infringement caused damages of $500m (£320m). The specific charges against the company’s staff include racketeering, fraud, money laundering and copyright infringement among others.
Dotcom was eventually bailed on 22 February after a judge declared that he was not a flight risk, but enforced an internet restriction and required the Megaupload founder to be electronically tagged. In an interview with New Zealand’s Channel 3 News he rejected the criminal claims against him.
“I feel confident I am going to win because at the end of the day I know, my family knows, and everybody around me knows that I am no criminal and I have done nothing wrong,” Dotcom said. “So I will fight it. It’s all I can do.”
The first hearing of the extradition case will be heard on 20 August.