New Zealand Says Kim Dotcom Eligible For Extradition; Dotcom To Appeal

from the and-on-it-goes dept

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but minutes ago in New Zealand Judge Nevin Dawson gave the US Justice Department a bit of an early Christmas present in declaring that Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants in the Megaupload case are eligible for extradition, following the long extradition trial earlier this year. The judge apparently said that the evidence was “overwhelming” against the defendants. This does not mean that Dotcom and crew are boarding a plane across the Pacific just yet. They have 15 days to file an appeal and Dotcom’s lawyers have already indicated that such an appeal is on the way (what did you expect?). Dotcom’s lawyer Ira Rothken points out that under New Zealand’s extradition agreement with the US, there is no extradition over copyright issues — and argues this ruling renders such a safe harbor “illusory.” Of course, even if that fails, there’s still a separate process for approving the actual extradition, which would take place with New Zealand’s Justice Minister, but that part of the process is more of a formality than anything else. It’s not over yet, but at this point things are leaning strongly towards Dotcom and his colleagues being shipped to Virginia to face a US criminal trial.

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Comments on “New Zealand Says Kim Dotcom Eligible For Extradition; Dotcom To Appeal”

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74 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Ah yes it the old “you must be a thief because you are a fan of due process meme.” How old and tired and childish. Just what we would expect from copyrights best and brightest. It’s funny how”artists” are the biggest thieves out there. Next time at last try not to rip off every troll who came before you.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well as a bullshit artist you should expect that sometimes people will call you on your bullshit.

And the tired trope of the site is in the pocket of big porn or google, rather than admitting that the narrow view of the world you enjoy isn’t shared by everyone.

Considering how far the rule of law has been bent in this case, the damage inflicted to all of the users of a service, and making 1 person the poster child for the alleged bad acts of others perhaps you have failed to understand that allowing that sort of thing to happen to someone you dislike opens the door to it happening to you.

In closing, try to pull your head out of your ass – it might improve your world view.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Which is why they slipped in the laughable ‘money laundering’ charges as well, by claiming that using the proceeds from the site to pay it’s upkeep counted as such.

The main problem with that idea is that, as the lawyer notes, it completely nullifies the whole ‘You can’t be extradited for copyright infringement’ limit on extradition. Does a site have ads and infringing content? Then the owners are eligible for extradition, because not only are they ‘profiting’ from the infringing content, clearly they are using the proceeds to pay for the site itself, which is money laundering.

If the ruling stands, then NZ might as well completely strip the limitation on extradition related to copyright from the books, as it will have been made completely useless.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

The didn’t slip the money laundering charges in. It’s a big part of the case. Kim Schmitz created a series of companies in different countries to operate websites which promoted downloading from Mega for “sales commissions” and paid traffic deals. That moved the money from the (alleged) corrupt company (mega) to the “clean” companies who could claim that they were paid normal sales commissions, which is where the money laundering happens. Basically, taking money from a criminal enterprise and moving it to ones who are legal, which cleans the money. The idea basically is that even if Mega was shut down for some reason, most of the income (circa 150 million) would have been moved to the other companies and thus out of reach of anyone who would sue Mega.

It’s really important to understand that copyright infringement is not the extraditable offense, but it is still a crime. Money laundering however is such an offense. Understanding the concept is very important in understanding why NZ really has no choice in the matter. The charges rise up to the right level.

Remember too: Kim is a NZ legal resident, but not a citizen. It’s important to understand because once he is extradited (ie, out of the country) NZ washes their hands entirely of the mess and does not have to allow him back in. I suspect more than a few government officials will be happy to see him disappear, considering all the expense he has caused in all of this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

It’s been a while since I looked at details, but I’m pretty sure the charges have nothing to do with Mega, which is a company Kim started while fighting the charges. The charges are about Megaupload, Kim’s previous company which was destroyed by the charges years ago. So you are at best confused, and at worst trying to suggest to people that Kim’s current company is engaged in criminal behavior for which it may be shut down as a result of these charges.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

As ever, I love the way you get basic facts wrong (such as the name of the company being indicted, or the fact that copyright infringement has been of the claimed reasons for extradition) while smugly trying to “correct” the article – all without addressing a single point brought up during the whole fiasco.

But, hey, I’ll still give you kudos for not acting like a small child unlike some of your brethren in this thread. How those guys expect any counter-argument to be heard (even if they bothered to offer one) is mystifying. You at least try to give the pretense of an adult conversation.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Paul, I assume english isn’t your first language. I’ll try to make it clearer for you:

Copyright of course is the key illegal act which garnered MU hundreds of millions of dollars. It is also NOT generally an extraditable offence. However, commercial copyright violation / piracy is illegal in both countries. It is the bad act which generated the illegal revenue, and Kim’s knowledge of the infringing material on the site is very key. It is, however, not a directly extraditable offence in and of itself.

Thus, we have money laundering. That is an extradition level offense, no doubt about it. Kim created a number of shell companies to promote and market MU services, with the intent to move money away from MU and clean it through a commission payment system. It takes the money away from the criminal enterprise, and moves it to clean “marketing” companies in a handful of different countries.

So the issue is simple: The commercial copyright may not alone be an extradition level offense. But it is certainly part of the package which supports the larger, and much clearer money laundering setup.

“all without addressing a single point brought up during the whole fiasco.”

What’s to add? If the what the US alleges is true, Kim knowingly made hundreds of millions of dollars by selling access to material he knew wasn’t legal to distribute, and set up a system to move the money away from the corrupt enterprise to safe haven shell companies around the world. His actions seem to how a consciousness of guilt that is pretty hard to deny.

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

“I’m going to design and sell this gun that I am pretty sure will be used to commit crimes but can also be used for legal purposes” is not the same thing as “knowingly.” just because someone makes a tool that has a broad purpose doesn’t mean we blame the tool maker for all illicit uses of it. otherwise, why aren’t we blaming car manufacturers or alcohol makers for all drunk driving deaths? answer and please show your work. If you can’t adequately answer this, then you have no valid argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

What’s to add? If the what the US alleges is true, Kim knowingly made hundreds of millions of dollars by selling access to material he knew wasn’t legal to distribute, and set up a system to move the money away from the corrupt enterprise to safe haven shell companies around the world.

And if what the US alleges is NOT proven true, then what? Are the US taxpayers on the hook for rebuilding his business?

Because not for nothing, if the US loses, and all the bullshit associated with how this went down comes to light, there’s going to be a whole slew of lawsuits that the TAXPAYER will be on the hook for, as far as damages.

I personally don’t feel like footing the bill just in case the RIAA/MPAA cartels just happen to be wrong (not that that’s ever happened before /s).

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

“And if what the US alleges is NOT proven true, then what? Are the US taxpayers on the hook for rebuilding his business?”

Well, it’s always the risks in being in a marginal or potentially illegal business that you have to deal with the legal aspects. That includes the risk that your business is closed or shut down for a period of time.

If what Kim did is entirely legal, he could restart tomorrow and he would almost instantly be completely back in business – and more so, as the legal standing would make the site even more open and public. Winning would make Kim a billionaire.

Not seeing the problem.

It would be about as impossible for Kim to prove ACTUAL damages as you guys would claim it is for copyright holders to prove. Lots of theory, but what would have happened if someone opened SuperUpload at half the price, twice the speed, and so on? His business could have been destroyed naturally 5 minutes later. So what is the lost value? Potential value? Roll out all the arguments used against copyright damages, and try it out!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

“Well, it’s always the risks in being in a marginal or potentially illegal business that you have to deal with the legal aspects.”

I thought it was legal in NZ. Do you also support US citizens being deported because their site might be considered indecent in Saudi Arabia, or immoral in Uganda? If not, why not. No wild fantasies, hypocrisy or lies, please.

“If what Kim did is entirely legal, he could restart tomorrow”

After being deported to a country he has no relationship with, no “loser pays” legislation (so he’s heavily in debt even if he wins) and no guarantee of returning to the country he lived in, let along the business. Great deal in your mind, I’m sure.

“Winning would make Kim a billionaire”

Until the next time he’s kidnapped.

“It would be about as impossible for Kim to prove ACTUAL damages”

It’s impossible to prove how much he earned before he was shut down without a trial? I thought you claimed you have records of “illegal” income?

“what would have happened if someone opened SuperUpload at half the price, twice the speed, and so on”

If he failed to react to market forces, he would have naturally gone out of business and deserved it, as the majority of businesses do within the first few years of starting up. If he has reacted, he would have become more successful and correctly addressed his customers’ needs, unless he was successfully prosecuted for illegal activity.

Why do you support foreign governments mandating this failure without due process?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

Well, it’s always the risks in being in a marginal or potentially illegal business that you have to deal with the legal aspects.

Well, everything is “potentially” illegal.

That includes the risk that your business is closed or shut down for a period of time.

Or that you may be imprisoned “for a period of time”. How about you identify yourself for us so that if someone wants to accuse you of a crime they can imprison -you- for a while? Hey, that’s the risk you pay for living, right?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Hypocritical piece of shit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

If the what the US alleges is true, Kim knowingly made hundreds of millions of dollars by selling access to material he knew wasn’t legal to distribute

Is that illegal? And what is this illegal to distribute material?

and set up a system to move the money away from the corrupt enterprise to safe haven shell companies around the world.

Shell companies and moving money around for tax purposes is very common with multi-national companies. That could even apply to Apple. Yet I somehow doubt the US would extradite Tim Cook to New Zealand if the shoe were on the other foot.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

“Paul, I assume english isn’t your first language.”

If you must. It is, of course, you just tend to have different definitions of certain words.

“Copyright of course is the key illegal act which garnered MU hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Citation needed, since there’s plenty of evidence of legal income. It may not match whatever evidence of illegal income people haven’t shown us, but it’s there. But, let’s humour you.

“It is also NOT generally an extraditable offence.”

That’s the first problem most of us have, especially since that was the stated excuse for shutting down a service with many legal users with no due process according to the laws of the country in which it was hosted.

“Thus, we have money laundering. That is an extradition level offense, no doubt about it.”

Cool. So, why was this not the original charge? Why was copyright infringement even raised as charge?

“If the what the US alleges is true, Kim knowingly made hundreds of millions of dollars by selling access to material he knew wasn’t legal to distribute, and set up a system to move the money away from the corrupt enterprise to safe haven shell companies around the world.”

…and if it’s not, he’s being deported to country he’s neither a resident not a citizen of, with a history of locking people up indefinitely without trial in Cuba. A country that’s already shown willing to kidnap foreign citizens on the behest of copyright charges for a private corporation.

Surely someone even as biased as you can at least understand the questions? I don’t doubt that Dotcom is an abrasive arsehole and has probably done something illegal. But this tactic to catch him?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

OH, let’s just ignore the flagrant diregard for the law in order to get Kim. Like the illegal use of evidence. Or the abuses by the GCSB of said evidence.

Look, we know the Kim is not a good guy. But everything that’s happeneed in this case has beeen positively saint-like compared to the actions of the FBI and the DoJ.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

“OH, let’s just ignore the flagrant diregard for the law in order to get Kim”

They have to, I think. That’s why there’s so much misdirection or personal attacks on Dotcom. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these threads without attacks on his physical appearance, as if that mattered in any way. It’s so pathetic.

Any attempt to address the actual issues people had with this whole thing will lead to admission that all sides were in the wrong here. Plus, that leads to the real problems people have with these cases, which is the way copyright is enforced. If, as is claimed by Whatever, the case was only ever about money laundering, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as controversial.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

I’m not a fan of Dotcom, but the whole point of having laws is not having to rely on popularity. Due process should not go out of the window because of an unpopular defendant.

Part of what makes Dotcom delusory (as witnessed by his rather unsuccesful political escapades) is that he confuses support of his fundamental rights (which are openly disregarded by the U.S. and its subservient New Zealand judiciary) with popularity.

He isn’t popular. But that does not change that the whole process/seizure/extradition/etc by the U.S. Department of “Justice” is a complete joke completely disrespecting fundamental laws of both the U.S. and New Zealand.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

“I’m not a fan of Dotcom, but the whole point of having laws is not having to rely on popularity. Due process should not go out of the window because of an unpopular defendant.”

Exactly my point. These people seem to think “Dotcom is an asshole” or even “Dotcom is fat” is enough of an argument to not question what’s been happening here. The rest of us understand exactly why due process is so important, even as it protects those we may not feel deserve protecting.

Pixelation says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

“These people seem to think “Dotcom is an asshole” or even “Dotcom is fat” is enough of an argument to not question what’s been happening here.”

It’s even more important to question what is happening here since this is where bad precedent will be set beacuse, “Dotcom is an asshole” or “Dotcom is fat”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these threads without attacks on his physical appearance, as if that mattered in any way.

That’s the way our society is. Studies have even shown that one of the most important indicators of future success is physical attractiveness. Ever seen a beautiful woman panhandling on the side of the road? Me neither.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

That’s partly because “beautiful woman” does not come cheap. Getting hair, eyes, figure, face, hands, figure, supportive outfit to match the tabloid standards costs a lot of private time and also money on a continuing basis.

When you are panhandling, you don’t have the resources to be “beautiful”.

If you are taking a look at the “natural” form of “beautiful women”, they tend to be rather bland with no particular dominant features. Which is precisely what is needed to make them a projection surface for the imagery associated with “beautiful women” without distraction.

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If anyone wonders how far the MPAA will go to manufacture a case and use Government to do it’s bidding while they pull the strings like a marionette, you really just have to look at what the MPAA tried to do with Google.

The MPAA went to great lengths to get Mississippi state Attorney General Jim Hood to go after Google by using his offices investigative and subpoena powers to “investigate” Google for aiding and abetting copyright infringement…then it leaked thru the Sony hack that the MPAA had a law firm they use draft up the letter and the subpoena for Hood to send to Google, and all the while the MPAA stayed in the shadows.

The MPAA has very dirty hands in the Google case and in Dotcom’s case, and has demonstrated that they will go to great lengths to get politicians and governments ( both foreign and domestic ) to do what they have been unable and unwilling to do.

Something Something, Clue x 4 says:

What does it take to get extradited to NZ?

I know this probably has been raised some times before, but I thought New Zealand was a sovereign nation. Most sovereign nations don’t like having other nations messing with their nationals. This case makes it look like NZ has given up its sovereignty and is declaring it is the US’s b!tch.

How does that strike you Kiwis? Do you like knowing that everything your country does now has to be run past your government’s superiors at the MAFIAA and us.gov including following the laws of a country you don’t even live in?

Maybe you guys should throw those ridiculous guys in charge out on their heads… yeah yeah, probably just like we should do here in the US as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What does it take to get extradited to NZ?

That might be news to you but every country is as you say a “US b!tch”. How can they not be? The US out spends every nation in terms of military and if you don’t want to get droned you better do what the US says. Unless of course you have nuclear weapons then you are alloweed to govern your country yourself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Be careful what you wish for

If you think ignoring due process is OK because Dotcom is a fat, ugly, pirate inducing dirt bag don’t complain when due process is ignored when you or a loved one are on trial.

I don’t give a crap if Dotcom is guilty or innocent but I have a problem with how the U.S. government had behaved in dealing with him.

That One Guy (profile) says:

"The evidence is overwhelming..."

“… we’ll just ignore how they got it, because it’s not like how you gather evidence matters, right?”

If the NZ judge cared about justice, they’d refuse extradition by pointing out that other than making an example of Dotcom by dragging him through the mud some more, the ‘trial’ is moot thanks to the DOJ’s actions.

MU the company has already been destroyed, and Dotcom’s funds ‘forfeited'(though I have no doubt that if he is extradited, and found guilty in the ‘trial’, the judge will insist that the money already taken from him not count against any fines levied).

Other than twisting the knife a bit, there’s nothing much the court can do to him that they haven’t already done, so at this point the whole extradition/’trial’ is just to save face, so the DOJ doesn’t look like complete chumps for jumping when the *AA’s told them to without looking if they had somewhere to land first.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Good point? Kind of, merely in the sense that it’s actually true. Dotcom’s residential status may make it easier to understand why NZ might not be obligated to fight in his corner as must as they would for a citizen, but it certainly doesn’t invalidate any of the other concerns. I may be biased, as I’m a legal tax-paying resident of a foreign country myself but the attitude that some legal residents are less valuable than others when utilising and protecting rights is extremely concerning.

In fact, I believe that most people agree, which is why we have extradition treaties to begin with. I’m sure that if it was another way around, with a US citizen being dragged over to Germany from his home in New Zealand, there are some hypocrites here who would change their minds rather quickly about where rights and jurisdictions lay.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Dotcom would now be eligible to become a citizen since last month of NZ rather than just a mere resident as he has now been a resident of NZ for 5 years now.

No doubt the US would voice strong objections to any application for NZ citizenship that Dotcom applies and will get high ranking officials in NZ on there behalf to make objections to the department that receives and reviews Dotcom NZ citizenship application.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Even if he is eligible, not everyone wants to become a citizen of the place they are resident. Living somewhere for 5 years does not necessarily represent a desire for a lifelong commitment, even if such a gesture is required for those who do want to stay forever.

I would be very concerned about a system that requires you to give up your citizenship just to remain protected by your host country. Especially since in this case the extradition is coming from a country he’s neither a citizen of nor, as I understand it, has ever visited.

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

I don’t believe anyone is surprised by this at all.the amount of political interference by the US Government and back channels used by the US DOJ to pressure New Zealand to arrest and get Dotcom held and extradited has been extraordinary.

The MPAA and Hollywood have been after Dotcom and Mega-upload for years, and while they haven’t been able to get Dotcom and Mega-upload thru civil actions, they dreamed up a way to get him criminally which is what we have seen so far.

How the US Government and it’s DOJ has become the legal arm of the MPAA & RIAA is frightening. The MPAA & Hollywood have gone to great lengths to stretch US Copyright law to extend past Americas borders and have it apply to non citizens of the US in other countries.

Am I a Dotcom fan, not entirely but this case has bordered on the insanity level. The fact that Hollywood has roped the US Government, the US DOJ and the New Zealand government into being it’s private prosecution and has twisted US copyright laws and criminal law to manufacture a criminal case is asinine

The US DOJ has even picked Judge Liam O’Grady to handle this case ( For those who don’t know is well connected to Hollywood ). O’Grady gave us the wonderful Cox vs. Rightscorp ruling and that ruling showed that O’Grady still isn’t able to be impartial and rule according to law and forget his days when he worked for Hollywood.

Dotcom has the right to face his accusers and have his case heard, but the amount of histrionics thrown around in this whole farce of get Dotcom by any means necessary is plain wrong.

The amount of taxpayers money that the US Government and the New Zealand government has spent on this case has to be in the tens of millions of dollars already and I would have to think is far past any financial losses that the MPAA claims Hollywood suffered ( and the way Hollywood makes up their damage claims can we even trust them when we do get a number, it’s already been proven that Hollywood likes to throw around big numbers in a win of a lawsuit like they did in the Hotfile case that are not what they really received in the settlement from the case )

Dotcom has had the decked stacked against him from day one when this farce started and it will continue to be this way when he arrives on american soil.for this trial. It is amazing how far a private group has gone to turn a civil matter into a criminal matter and all with taxpayer dollars being spent.

This case will drag on and on and on because the US Government can not say “not our problem” to their Hollywood backers and that this is a civil court issue, and the fact that they have managed to manufacture a criminal case on non U.S citizens is nothing less than frightening.

whimcattygay says:

ponking good script

Every one knows that this is an agreement between the government and Kim so he can go quietly into the jail cells and have time to learn and use javascript. He wants so badly to learn to code in javascript that he needs the quiet confines of a jail cell and quietness to get the education he needs to design nice proper web sites not those ugly commerncial things his staff made.

Anonymous Coward says:

Its great to be the us government ,
take someones money away,
so they cant defend themselves .
imagine if the new zealand government tried to take a us citizens money because he might be guilty of copyright infringement ,
and extradite him to new zealand.
The usa wants to get all data ,emails ,phone calls of non us
citizens , we are all treated as potential terrorists .
And it wants us law to apply in every country .
OF course under TTP the us is exporting the worst parts
of its patent and copyright system ,
without the us protection for free speech rights.

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