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Dotcom says he’d voluntarily go to America in return for access to funds

By | Published on Wednesday 11 July 2012

Kim Schmitz

MegaUpload founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz has said he would voluntarily go to the US to face the copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering charges that have been made against him, providing the American authorities assured him bail in the States and gave him access to frozen funds to cover legal costs and living expenses.

Dotcom’s offer came after a planned extradition hearing in New Zealand was postponed from August to next March, amidst complications relating to warrants used by police to raid the MegaUpload chief’s home in the country back in January, and arguments about how much evidence the Americans should share with the defence. As previously reported, the US has been trying to extradite Dotcom and three other former MegaUpload executives from New Zealand ever since they shut down the controversial file-transfer service at the start of the year.

Although the US in theory would like its extradition to go through as soon as possible, Dotcom’s legal team have suggested that delays in the New Zealand court actually suit the prosecution in America, because the US has deprived Dotcom of most of his fortune, and yet the longer the case rumbles on the more legal fees he incurs. And there’s only so many favours even someone as well connected as Dotcom can call in.

He told the New Zealand Herald this week: “I have accumulated millions of dollars in legal bills and I haven’t been able to pay a single cent. They just want to hang me out to dry and wait until there is no support left”.

Proposing to the US that he come to America voluntarily, but on his own terms, to escalate the criminal case against him, Dotcom tweeted yesterday: “Hey DOJ [US Department Of Justice], we will go to the US. No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers and living expenses”.

Quite how serious the offer is to the US isn’t clear – it certainly implies Dotcom genuinely believes he can defeat the charges against him in the US courts, because if he didn’t he’d face jail time. That said, it is unlikely the US will call the MegaUpload chief’s bluff and accept the offer, especially given the terms may well change if any actual deal was negotiated. Dotcom basically admitted this when telling the New Zealand Herald: “They will never agree to this and that is because they can’t win this case and they know that already”.

For the time being at least, America’s attempts to extradite Dotcom are ongoing.