WELLINGTON: Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom suffered a major setback in his epic legal battle against online piracy charges yesterday when New Zealand’s Court of Appeal ruled that he was eligible for extradition to the US.
The German national, who is accused of netting millions from his file-sharing Megaupload empire, faces charges of racketeering, fraud and money laundering in the US, carrying jail terms of up to 20 years.
Dotcom had asked the court to overturn two previous rulings that the Internet mogul and his three co-accused be sent to America to face charges. Instead, a panel of three judges backed the FBI-led case, which began with a raid on Dotcom’s Auckland mansion in January 2012 and has dragged on for more than six years.
The court said US authorities had “a clear prima facie case to support the allegations that the appellants conspired to, and did, breach copyright wilfully and on a massive scale for commercial gain”.
Dotcom is accused of industrial-scale online piracy via Megaupload, which US authorities shut down when the raid took place.
They allege that Megaupload netted over US$175 million (RM707 million) in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners US$500 million-plus by offering pirated content including films and music. — AFP
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