Federal prosecutors in the US have submitted papers in New Zealand seeking the extradition of Megaupload owner Kim Dotcom and 3 of his co-workers, whom they accuse of making a fortune by helping Internet surfers share files illegally. New Zealand justice authorities say papers were submitted Friday in Auckland’s North Shore District Court. The court isn’t releasing the papers at the moment.
U.S. prosecutors accuse the 4 guys of breaching copyright laws by assisting countless unlawful downloads through their web site, enriching themselves at the expense of film makers and composers. They’re accused of numerous violations including racketeering, which carries a the highest level of jail sentence of 2 decades. As well as Dotcom, prosecutors are looking the extradition from New Zealand of Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk, each of whom held senior jobs at Megaupload before authorities shut it down in January.
Kim Dotcom and his co-workers remain under house arrest in Auckland. An extradition hearing has been planned for August. Kim Dotcom, who was born in Germany and officially changed his name from Kim Schmitz, has said US police cherry-picked e-mails and other proof in a way that was “misleading and malicious.” He explained several Megaupload employees were tasked with taking down any content that might infringe copyright, but U.S. police say they only removed individual links, without deleting unlicensed content.
The US has also charged 3 men in Europe in the case. One of those men, Andrus Nomm, was detained by Dutch police in January.