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Kim Dotcom extradition: the facts

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017

A High Court has rejected Kim Dotcom's appeal against extradition. So what is the case all about?

WHO?

* Kim Dotcom: German-born internet mogul who founded Megaupload, once the world's biggest file-sharing website. Was granted New Zealand residency in 2010.

* Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato: Dotcom's three New Zealand-based co-accused. All were involved in Megaupload and arrested in the same January 2012 raids as Dotcom.

WHAT?

* The United States FBI, not New Zealand authorities, have led the investigation into Megaupload. The FBI wants all four men extradited to the US to face charges.

* They say Megaupload was a criminal conspiracy which earned the men $US175 million.

* They accused the men of defrauding copyright holders and paying their users to upload illegal files.

* Under New Zealand's extradition laws, a District Court judge has had to decide whether Dotcom and his three co-accused have a case to answer in the US.

THE CHARGES

* They faced charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and two kinds of criminal copyright infringement based on an investigation going back to 2010.

EXTRADITION

Lawyers for the four argued:

* The website was protected by "dual use" defences - just like video recorders - where the company can't control if its customers use its products for illegal purposes.

* The US had prevented them from putting together a proper response by blocking them from hiring necessary US experts.

* None of the charges were extraditable offences based on New Zealand and US law.

ORIGINAL DECISION

* Judge Nevin Dawson ruled all four men could be extradited to face criminal charges.

APPEAL

* A High Court appeal by the four fails, the judge confirming they're still eligible to be extradited for racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

* But Justice Murray Gilbert finds copyright infringement isn't a grounds for extraditing the men, a minor victory for Dotcom.

WHAT NEXT?

* Dotcom's lawyers now say they're going to appeal again, this time in the Court of Appeal.

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