Kim Dotcom should be sent to the United States to stand trial on criminal charges, a New Zealand court has ruled.
In a decision delivered in district court this afternoon, Judge Nevin Dawson ruled the internet entrepreneur and his three co-accused - Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato - were eligible for extradition to the US.
The FBI had been seeking their extradition on charges of copyright infringement, money-laundering and racketeering related to the now-defunct file-storage website Megaupload.It was a result the Megaupload founder has been trying to prevent since his 2012 arrest during a dramatic raid on his mansion north of Auckland.During a 10-week court hearing that ended last month, the men's lawyers argued Megaupload was created simply to allow people to store and share large files.But the FBI claimed the site wilfully breached copyright on a mass scale by hosting illegally-created movie, music and software files.
The agency said the site aided and abetted users who uploaded such files by paying them rewards.
The court found in favour of the US arguments, which were presented by Crown prosecutors.
The "overwhelming preponderance" of evidence against the men established a prima facie case, Judge Dawson said.
All four were eligible for extradition on all counts, he said.
Under New Zealand's Extradition Act, Justice Minister Amy Adams must now decide whether to confirm the court's decision and go ahead with the extraditions.But speaking to media briefly after the verdict was revealed, Mr Dotcom said he had already filed an appeal
"We have filed an appeal, I'm still on bail, and we'll go through the whole process to the very end.
I'm disappointed, but that's all I have to say."