Kim Dotcom facing extradition to US after court ruling

23 Dec 2015

It’s not gearing up to be a very merry Christmas for 39-year-old Kim Dotcom, who has lost friends in high places in New Zealand following a court ruling that will see him extradited to the US for a number of alleged crimes.

Kim Dotcom has been living in New Zealand as a resident for nearly five years now, as he sought refuge from the many lawyers chasing him for the alleged crimes of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering, valued at a total of $500m.

Dotcom rose to fame originally following his founding of the file-sharing website Megaupload 10 years ago, and the subsequent founding of a whole new range of web services, including last year’s attempt to create a ‘Skype killer’ with his own service, MegaChat.

But now, according to the BBC, his status within New Zealand is likely to be over, pending an appeal, with the judge in the case saying that the authorities in the US has a ‘large body of evidence’, while Dotcom’s defence was ‘well short of undermining the case’.

The case, which was to determine whether Dotcom should be extradited to the US for a court hearing there, began in earnest last September, but had really begun earlier, following the New Zealand police force raiding Dotcom’s house on a request from the FBI.

In his unique style, Dotcom has since gone on Twitter to put on a brave face, despite the decision.

As part of the court ruling, three other men who had worked with Dotcom are also facing similar extradition charges.

Speaking after the ruling, Dotcom’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said: “I have no doubt it will go to the Supreme Court”.

In a separate case, Dotcom plans to sue the Hong Kong justice department, where Megaupload was based before it was shut down in 2012, for $2bn because of its decision to remove the site.

“I now have the opportunity to fight back in Hong Kong and take legal action against those who have destroyed what I have built there, and that means I can sue, indirectly, the US government by suing the Hong Kong Department of Justice,” Dotcom said of the issue.

Kim Dotcom on Wired image via Tiago Pereira/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic