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MegaUpload lawyers call for yet another delay in extradition hearing for Kim Dotcom et al

By | Published on Thursday 10 September 2015


Kim Dotcom and his former associates at long defunct file-transfer service MegaUpload are due to appear in a New Zealand court on 21 Sep, as the US continues in its much, much, much, much delayed attempt to extradite the men back to the States to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering in relation to their former business, which was shut down following a raid by American authorities in 2012.

A string of technicalities have delayed the extradition process, and as this latest hearing approaches lawyers working for the former Mega execs have raised another issue. Well, an existing issue with a new slant. It’s based around the ongoing allegation that the American government is starving the defendants of funds which means they are unable to properly defend themselves in court.

The MegaUpload men’s lawyers concede that some of the funds seized when the file-transfer company was forced out of business have now been released to help pay their clients’ defence costs, but those monies can only be spent within New Zealand. And, say the lawyers, their clients need the counsel of experts in US copyright and criminal law, who are generally based in the US.

According to Scoop, in a new filing requesting that this month’s court hearing be postponed, one of the lawyers repping two of the MegaUpload defendants writes: “We can’t become instant experts in US copyright law and US criminal law. We need help from expert witnesses and we’re being denied that opportunity”.

Prosecutors counter that this month’s hearing is all about New Zealand extradition law not American copyright or criminal law, so legal services from outside the country are not required. Though previously Dotcom’s reps have argued that the strength of the US government’s case against MegaUpload under American law has an impact on whether or not there are grounds to extradite him.

If the MegaUpload reps are successful in this latest wrangle, it could push this month’s much previously delayed extradition hearing back into next year, maybe around the four year anniversary of the shutdown of the controversial digital company.