New Zealand’s Supreme Court to hear Dotcom extradition appeal

FILE PHOTO: German tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom sits in a chair during a court hearing in Auckland, New Zealand, September 24, 2015. REUTERS/Nigel Marple/File Photo

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’ highest court on Thursday said it would hear an appeal from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who is attempting to overturn a lower court’s ruling that he can be extradited to the United States to face racketeering and copyright charges.

The Supreme Court said it had jurisdiction over the appeal and granted leave for the case to proceed, according to a statement on the court’s website.

The six-year legal saga is widely seen as a test for how far the United States can reach globally to apply American firms’ intellectual property rights.

The Court of Appeal in July upheld a lower court ruling in 2017 that the extradition could take place.

U.S. authorities say Dotcom and three co-accused Megaupload executives cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million in revenue by encouraging paying users to store and share copyrighted material.

“We are pleased that the New Zealand Supreme Court granted review of the U.S. extradition case against Kim Dotcom,” said Dotcom’s lawyer, Ira Rothken.

German-born Dotcom, who has New Zealand residency, became well known for his lavish lifestyle as much as his computer skills.

He used to post photographs of himself with cars and vanity license plates such as “GOD” and “GUILTY”, shooting an assault rifle and flying around the world in his private jet.

Dozens of black-clad police raided Dotcom’s mansion in 2012, breaking him out of a safe room and confiscating millions of dollars in cash and property, including a fleet of luxury cars, computers and art work.

Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Praveen Menon and Michael Perry

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