NZ judge delays Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing until 2013

10 Jul 2012

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Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz

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A New Zealand judge has delayed the extradition hearing of Kim Dotcom – the founder of the file-sharing site Megaupload – until March 2013, as a result of legal complications, dealing a blow to the United States’ court case against the founders of the site.

On his Twitter account, Dotcom expressed his frustration after the latest delay in proceedings.

"Extradition hearing delayed til March. Dirty delay tactics by the US. They destroyed my business. Took all my assets. Time does the rest" – he penned following the news.

And so the saga continues …

Kim Dotcom Twitter

@KimDotcom

In early January, the FBI charged Kim Dotcom, otherwise known as Kim Schmitz, and six other people for running an "international organised criminal enterprise", the Hong Kong-based file-hosting and sharing site Megaupload and other related sites.

At the time it was deemed to be one of the largest-ever criminal copyright cases ever brought by US authorities.

Dotcom was arrested at his luxury mansion in Coatesville, Auckland, on 20 January, by armed police, who were acting on behalf of the FBI and the US Department of Justice, which claimed that those behind Megaupload were responsible for "massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works," generating more than US$175m.

A US extradition application was formally launched in late February for Schmitz, who founded Megaupload in 2005.

The extradition hearing was supposed to take place in August. However, in the latest twist, the Associated Press has reported that the hearing has been delayed because lawyers from both sides are apparently still arguing over evidence and legal issues.

In late June, another New Zealand judge, Justice Helen Winkelmann, ruled that the search warrants used by New Zealand to arrest Dotcom in January were invalid.

As well as this, Winkelmann also ruled the FBI’s copying of Dotcom’s hard drives by the FBI as invalid.

It now seems the Dotcom hearing won’t happen until 25 March 2013. In the meantime, Dotcom has to stay under house arrest at his Auckland mansion.

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Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com