Following years of legal battles over Kim Dotcom’s controversial Megaupload service, the court has come to a decision over whether Dotcom should be extradited from New Zealand to stand trial in the United States.
Judge Nevin Dawson today ruled that Kim Dotcom should be extradited to stand trial in the US.
Dawson previously granted Dotcom bail in 2012 to await the final ruling, but today’s judgement moves the ex-CEO toward the real trial on US soil.
After Megaupload was shut down in 2012 at the request of the FBI, Dotcom and four employees were charged with racketeering and money laundering by creating a site that encouraged the uploading of copyrighted content.
According to the complaint “the conspirators allegedly paid users whom they specifically knew uploaded infringing content, and publicised their links to users throughout the world.”
It contains emails between the co-founders suggesting ways of rewarding users for sharing popular pirated content and the group creating features designed to hide the proliferance of piracy on Megaupload.
Dotcom has lived in New Zealand since 2010 when he was granted residency in return for investing $10 million in the country. It later emerged that his request was only granted due to “political pressure” despite red flags.
Today’s ruling comes despite Dotcom’s claims that he was unable to properly defend himself as his money was confiscated and that the raid on his home was unlawful.
The country also spied on his residence unlawfully, and reportedly destroyed evidence as the trial was underway.
The extradition judgement isn’t final, as New Zealand Justice Minister Amy Adams must endorse the extradition decision before it’s able to be carried out.
Dotcom will be able to appeal the judgement, which one of his lawyers, Ira Rothkin, emphatically announced on Twitter after the judgment was delivered.
The @KimDotcom team looks forward to having the US request for extradition reviewed in the High Court.We have no other comments at this time
— Ira Rothken (@rothken) December 23, 2015
But this decision brings him one step closer to battling the United States in court.
In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Kim Dotcom said that he plans to fight the ruling with his recently released funds in Hong Kong.
According to Dotcom, “it’s actually quite simple. They are making it complex. The simple answer is copyright is not extraditable. Period. Game over. That’s where the whole thing should end.”