Kim Dotcom, accused piracy kingpin and notorious internet entrepreneur, can be extradited to the U.S. to face multiple charges of copyright infringement and money laundering, the New Zealand Court of Appeal ruled earlier Thursday.
Dotcom said he plans to appeal the ruling to New Zealand’s Supreme Court, a process that could take another year if the court opts to hear the case. U.S. law enforcement agencies have been seeking to extradite Dotcom to face charges in the States since 2012.
“To say that I am extremely disappointed by the decision of the Court of Appeal today is an understatement,” Dotcom said in a statement Thursday, claiming that the ruling exposes internet service providers to liability for copyright infringement conducted by their users. “My legal team are confident that the Supreme Court will hear the appeal given there are such significant legal issues at stake.”
The FBI shut down Dotcom’s Megaupload.com file-sharing website in January 2012. The U.S. Department of Justice has alleged Dotcom and his associates used Megaupload to generate more than $175 million in revenue from piracy and caused more than $500 million in damages to copyright holders.
The evidence against Dotcom and three of his associates — Matthias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato — is sufficient for them to be extradited to the U.S. to face the charges, the New Zealand Court of Appeal ruled.
Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz in Germany in 1974, and he legally changed his name to “Kim Dotcom” in 2005. He currently resides in Queenstown, a resort destination on New Zealand’s South Island.
Over the years, Dotcom — known for flaunting his wealth and maintaining a lavish lifestyle — has portrayed himself as a victim of unjust persecution by U.S. law enforcement officials and Hollywood trade orgs including the MPAA. He is the subject of 2017 documentary “Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web,” directed by Annie Goldson.