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Fresh blow for Kim Dotcom in US extradition fight

·2-min read
Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, seen here in 2015, faces charges of racketeering, fraud and money laundering in the United States (AFP/MICHAEL BRADLEY)

New Zealand's top court rejected Kim Dotcom's latest bid to avoid extradition to the United States on Tuesday, in a fresh blow to the tech entrepreneur's decade-long battle against online piracy charges.

Dotcom, who is accused of netting millions from his Megaupload file-sharing service, faces charges of racketeering, fraud and money laundering in the United States, carrying jail terms of up to 20 years.

The Supreme Court in Wellington ruled the German national and two co-defendants could not appeal aspects of an earlier judgement, dismissing their argument that they were facing a miscarriage of justice.

"We do not consider there is anything more the court needs to do in relation to the proposed appeals, given our conclusion that no miscarriage has arisen," a panel of three judges concluded.

The case began when New Zealand police raided Dotcom's Auckland mansion in January 2012 at the behest of the FBI, triggering numerous court hearings and appeals.

In the decade since, Dotcom has attempted to enter New Zealand politics, sparred verbally at a parliamentary committee with former prime minister John Key and vociferously protested his innocence.

The 47-year-old gave an indifferent response on social media to his latest legal setback.

"Unfazed. I'll start live streaming in January," he tweeted, referring to his latest online venture.

"Join me. 2022 will be fun. Enjoy your holidays."

The FBI accuses Dotcom of industrial-scale online piracy via Megaupload, which US authorities shut down when the raid took place.

They allege the file-sharing service netted more than US$175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners US$500 million-plus by offering pirated content, including films and music.

Dotcom and his co-accused -- Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk -- deny any wrongdoing, saying Megaupload was targeted because established interests were threatened by online innovation.

The website was an early example of cloud storage, allowing users to upload large files onto a server so others could easily download them without clogging up their email systems.

At its height in 2011, Megaupload claimed to have 50 million daily users and accounted for four percent of the world's internet traffic.

ns/arb/qan

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