Megaupload founder, Kim Dotcom, and three colleagues have moved a step closer to extradition from New Zealand to the United States where they faces charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering.
The New Zealand Court of Appeal this morning overturned earlier appeal rulings that had sided with Kim Dotcom and his associates. His defence team had previously managed to argue that it was entitled to examine the full set of evidence obtained by U.S. Authorities. This would have given the accused the opportunity to both prepare its defence fully and search for evidence that surveillance and warrants used as part of the group's arrest were illegal. This new ruling, however, dismisses this argument and instead allows US authorities to summarise its evidence.
On passing the ruling Justice Helen Winkelmann stated that an extradition hearing is not a trial in which innocence or guilt is determined, so the procedures required in such a case were not applicable. The court further pointed out that by the rules of the extradition agreement, the US is only obliged to prove it has a prima facie (valid) case.
Kim Dotcom immediately took to Twitter to react to the ruling saying, “Am I disappointed about the ruling today? YES. Do 'good faith' & 'US govt' go together? NO. Will I sleep like an innocent baby tonight? YES.
Kim Dotcom and his co-accused, Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk, all face charges pertaining to their running of the file sharing site Megaupload. The site allowed users to upload and share files, with financial incentives for those that did the uploading, and became one of the most prolific sources for illegally shared copyrighted material such as songs and films. However, the group denies the accusations against it on the basis that they didn't control the content of the site.
Kim Dotcom has since launched a new site, Mega, which has removed the financial incentives for uploading.