Business News Digital Legal MegaUpload Timeline

Defence begins in MegaUpload extradition hearing

By | Published on Monday 5 October 2015


The ongoing extradition hearing of the former MegaUpload management continues in New Zealand, with the defence now taking to the stand.

As previously reported, representatives for the US government have been busy running through their case against Kim Dotcom et al in relation the long defunct file-transfer service.

They argue that while MegaUpload told the music and movie industries it was removing unlicensed content from its platform, it was concurrently relying on the distribution of copyright infringing files over its networks to drive traffic and profits, and to that end was encouraging and rewarding users to upload pirated material. The Americans want to extradite Dotcom and his former colleagues to face charges of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement.

Kicking off the defence earlier today, lawyers for the MegaUpload men didn’t tackle head on the allegations made against their clients. Instead they returned to their long-running argument that the defendants are being denied a fair trial because the Americans are still holding on to monies seized from the file-transfer business when it was shut down by the feds in 2012.

Although the MegaUpload managers have been given access to some of those funds to pay for legal fees, they are not allowed to spend the money outside New Zealand which, lawyers for the defence argue, means they cannot afford the kind of US-based legal representation required to respond to the prosecution’s arguments based on American law.

Prosecutors counter that this case is all about New Zealand extradition law, not American copyright and criminal law. But Grant Illingworth, representing MegaUpload men Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann, does not agree. He told the court today, according to NZCity: “This is a complex and tricky area of US law, just looking at the definitions alone”.

Illingworth and the other defence attorneys really want the entire extradition hearing postponed while their clients fight for access to more MegaUpload loot to hire American lawyers. Though so far the judge hearing the case hasn’t been keen to adjourn.

The case continues.