“Megaupload founder wins access to evidence seized in raid”

June 3, 2013

Reuters on May 31, 2013 released the following:

“(Reuters) – A New Zealand court granted Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom access on Friday to all evidence seized by police in a 2012 raid, bolstering the Internet entrepreneur’s fight against extradition to the United States to face online piracy charges.

Repeating its decision that warrants used in the raid on Dotcom’s home were illegal, the High Court ruled that police must provide copies of evidence considered relevant to the U.S. investigation. These include materials forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Any evidence seized in the raid, including computers, hard drives, files, and other materials deemed irrelevant must be returned to the founder of the shuttered file-sharing site.

“The police are to review digital data storage devices and return any to the plaintiffs that contain no relevant material,” Justice Helen Winkelmann said in a statement. Police, she said, may retain other storage devices but had to “provide a clone of those devices to the plaintiffs”.

Acting on a request from U.S. authorities, New Zealand police arrested Dotcom and three colleagues.

Dotcom’s lawyers have argued that lack of access to the seized evidence put them at a disadvantage in defending the German national and his colleagues against extradition.

The United States has launched a criminal investigation into Megaupload, arguing that it facilitated online piracy, and participated in racketeering and money laundering.

Dotcom, who has New Zealand residency, says the site was merely a storage facility for online files and should not be held accountable if stored content was obtained illegally.

An extradition hearing is scheduled for August, but may be delayed due to separate cases linked to another court ruling that unlawful warrants were used in the police raid.

The copyright case could set a precedent for Internet liability laws and, depending on its outcome, may force entertainment companies to rethink their distribution methods.

The U.S. Justice Department says Megaupload cost copyright holders such as movie studios and record companies more than $500 million and generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds. It described the case as being among the largest ever involving criminal copyright.

Dotcom launched a new file-sharing service, Mega, in January.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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“Former Guatemalan President Pleads Not Guilty After Extradition”

May 29, 2013

The Wall Street Journal on May 28, 2013 released the following press release:

“Samuel Rubenfeld
Wall Street Journal

A former Guatemalan president was extradited last Friday to New York to face money laundering charges, the latest in the Justice Department’s heightened efforts to get defendants detained internationally to face corruption charges.

Alfonso Portillo,who led Guatemala from 2000 to 2004, embezzled tens of millions of dollars in state assets, some of which he laundered through U.S. and European bank accounts, prosecutors alleged Tuesday.

Portillo pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Patterson. If convicted, Portillo faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

He has long denied the allegations against him, telling CNN en Español in January the charges are a political witch-hunt borne of his opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war.

“If deposits were made, they are deposits that first of all come from institutions that are not illicit,” he was quoted by CNN as saying. “In order for there to be laundering, the first requirement is that the money is from an illegal origin or comes from an illegal activity.”

Portillo’s extradition to the U.S. highlights a recently favored tool in corruption cases by law enforcement authorities, in which people are detained overseas and brought to the U.S. to face the charges against them.

The Justice Department built up its capacity and bolstered its relationships with foreign counterparts, allowing it to more frequently pursue cases and defendants internationally, said Peter Carr, a spokesman, in an email.

“The result is we are pursuing the extradition of more defendants, including high-profile defendants, such as [Viktor] Bout and Portillo,” Carr said.

However, the results of these efforts are somewhat mixed, based on a review of recent cases.

Bout was extradited and convicted, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. His associate was extradited to New York last week.

In January, a U.K. businessman was extradited, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in El Paso, Texas, federal court to three years behind bars for trying to help ship missile parts to Iran.

And in April 2012, the leader of a Mexican drug cartel was brought to the U.S. to face racketeering and money-laundering charges, for which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

But prosecutors are struggling to bring a former Thai official to the U.S. to face money-laundering charges in a case that’s been stayed until March 2014, and their support to Bahamian authorities in another case still ended in failure.

In another case, prosecutors have been trying to extradite a South Korean man since 2009 to face U.S. foreign bribery charges, but court papers from the man’s lawyers say Seoul won’t do it because the people he’s accused of bribing aren’t considered public officials under local law.

Carr declined to comment on the Justice Department’s record of extradition.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Guatemala here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Alleged senior member of Tijuana drug cartel extradited to U.S.

September 1, 2012

CNN on August 31, 2012 released the following:

“By Carol Cratty, CNN

(CNN) — A man alleged to be a senior member of a Tijuana-based drug cartel was extradited from Mexico to the United States on Friday to stand trial.

Eduardo Arellano-Felix, 55, faces charges of narcotics trafficking, racketeering and money laundering.

He was arrested on October 25, 2008, after a gunbattle with Mexican forces, the Justice Department said. Arellano-Felix was ordered extradited to the United States in 2010 but spent nearly two years on unsuccessful appeals of his case.

“The extradition of Eduardo Arellano-Felix today marks the end of a 20-year DEA investigation into this vicious drug cartel,” said William Sherman, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s acting special agent in charge in San Diego.

According to a Justice Department news release, his cartel, the Arellano-Felix Organization, “controlled the flow of cocaine, marijuana and other drugs through the Mexican border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali into the United States.” Prosecutors said the group brought Colombian cocaine into Mexico by sea and air, then smuggled it into the United States for sale.

The Justice Department estimates the cartel made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits.

“The FBI is pleased with Mexico’s efforts to bring to justice a leader from one of the most violent criminal enterprises in our history,” said San Diego FBI Special Agent in Charge Daphne Hearn. “The spirit of cooperation between our two countries is a powerful force in disrupting the criminal activities of these groups that instill fear and threaten the safety of our citizens in the border regions of the United States.”

Arellano-Felix is scheduled to make his first court appearance in San Diego on September 4.

The Justice Department noted two brothers of the accused already are serving time in the United States. Benjamin Arellano-Felix and Francisco Javier Arellano-Felix were convicted on drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering charges.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Mexico here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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U.S. Loses Bid to Limit Disclosure in Dotcom Extradition

August 20, 2012

Bloomberg Business Week on August 16, 2012 released the following:

By Joe Schneider

“The U.S. lost a bid to limit the amount of information it must turn over to Megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom, accused of orchestrating the biggest copyright infringement in the country’s history, in his fight against extradition from New Zealand.

New Zealand High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann today rejected a U.S. request to review a district court judge’s order to turn over evidence relating to Dotcom’s indictment, including all records obtained in connection with covert operations undertaken by agents involved in the investigation.

“The NZ High Court ruling in @KimDotcom case citing Bill of Rights protects Kim’s rights and the rights of all New Zealand residents,” Ira Rothken, a lawyer for Dotcom, wrote on Twitter following the ruling.

Dotcom, 38, was indicted in what U.S. prosecutors dubbed a “Mega Conspiracy,” accusing his file-sharing website of generating more than $175 million in criminal proceeds from the exchange of pirated film, music, book and software files. He faces as long as 20 years in prison for each of the racketeering and money-laundering charges in the indictment, with the U.S. seeking his extradition for a trial in Virginia.

The amount of documentation ordered to be turned over to Dotcom was unprecedented in the country or anywhere else for extradition cases, the U.S. had said.

“Disclosure in relation to extradition cases is extremely limited,” prosecutors had said, according to a summary of the arguments written by Winkelmann.

Extradition hearings are “essentially criminal in character” and the accused must be assured a fair hearing, according to New Zealand’s Bill of Rights, Winkelmann wrote.

“The more significant the rights affected, the more stringent the procedural rules designed to maintain the fairness of the process are likely to be,” the judge wrote.

The case is between United States of America and Kim Dotcom. Civ 2012-404-3026. High Court of New Zealand (Auckland).”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

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New Zealand judge in Kim Dotcom extradition case steps down after jokingly calling US ‘enemy’

July 18, 2012

The Washington Post on July 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand judge has stepped down from overseeing the extradition case of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom after jokingly referring to the United States as “the enemy.”

The comment by Auckland District Court Judge David Harvey raised questions about his impartiality. He was discussing Internet copyright at a conference last week when he told an audience, “We have met the enemy, and he is U.S.”

Harvey’s comments referencing late cartoonist Walt Kelly were recorded and posted on the Internet.

The U.S. is attempting to extradite Dotcom on racketeering and money laundering charges that allege his file-sharing site was facilitating massive Internet piracy.

Harvey will be replaced by judge Nevin Dawson. An extradition hearing has been scheduled for March.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

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MegaUpload lawyer claims the feds are impeding its defense

March 29, 2012

CNet on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“MegaUpload wants access to its servers to defend against U.S. charges of piracy and racketeering. But its lawyer says officials won’t release $1 million necessary to get the information.

by Greg Sandoval

The U.S. government has refused to allow the MegaUpload defendants access to information on their servers, which in turn is impeding their ability to defend themselves, the company’s lawyer told CNET.

Ira Rothken, the U.S. attorney overseeing MegaUpload’s international defense team, said the U.S. has refused to release funds that would enable MegaUpload to preserve and gather materials from company servers vital to its defense. Rothken said that he fears U.S. officials are withholding the money in an attempt to unfairly hobble MegaUpload’s defense.

“It’s hard to reconcile the chain of events in this matter with any other conclusion,” Rothken said. “MegaUpload is frustrated and wants to preserve the data for litigation and to defend itself and ultimately — with the approval of the court — to provide consumers access to their data.”

In January, the U.S. issued an indictment against MegaUpload, founder Kim DotCom and six other managers of the cyberlocker service, where users could store e-files and then share the contents with others. MegaUpload’s leadership is accused of conspiring to commit Internet piracy, racketeering and wire fraud. DotCom’s home in Auckland was raided by New Zealand police, his assets seized and the service shut down.

The U.S. wants to try DotCom in this country and an extradition hearing is scheduled for August. Rothken said there is no criminal secondary copyright infringement in the United States and said MegaUpload will prevail.

The case is important because until now, copyright infringement was largely a civil, not a criminal matter. For the most part, the worst thing that could happen to a service accused of helping customers infringe intellectual property was that someone might sue it.

Not any more.

U.S. officials seem intent on making some types of copyright infringement a criminal offense. U.S. authorities say MegaUpload was responsible for $500 million in damages to copyright owners, and the feds appear to have dedicated some serious resources to prosecuting the company. To defend itself against the U.S. government, MegaUpload will need all the material to which it is entitled, said Rothken.

As the extradition hearing nears, company lawyers say they’re unable to collect emails, files and other documents they claim will refute the allegations against MegaUpload. The company’s servers are hosted by Virginia-based Carpathia Hosting. The government initially locked the servers up while its agents collected evidence, but in January released all claims to them.

MegaUpload believed it would then be able to copy information from the servers itself. Rothken said he attempted to hire an electronic-discovery expert from KPMG to collect the data, but found that the cost would exceed $7 million. U.S. officials declined to release funds from MegaUpload’s seized assets to pay for the operation, the lawyer said.

Rothken then negotiated a deal with Carpathia to buy the servers for a little over $1 million, but he says the government again refused to release the money. Rothken said that the servers were worth more than the $1 million and that after the case was over their sale would bring the cost of the transaction to zero.

Rothken said he also told the government that he would restrict access to the data to only lawyers involved in the case. Still, the government wouldn’t budge.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the MegaUpload indictment was issued, suggested in an e-mail that the office didn’t consider Rothken’s requests reasonable.

“As we’ve stated previously,” the spokesman wrote, “we continue to give careful and thoughtful consideration to any reasonable and detailed proposal by MegaUpload’s counsel that addresses the practical and technical issues of this matter for the court. Ultimately, it is the court that will decide what is appropriate and whether any funds will be released to carry it out.”

A hearing on the issue of what will be done with the MegaUpload’s data is expected in mid-April. Carpathia has said the cost of maintaining the servers has topped $500,000 and pleaded with the court to either allow the company to delete the information or to figure out a way to pay for the data storage.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has said that it wants to preserve the data so that it can use it as evidence should it decide to file civil litigation. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants the material saved so that legal files stored on the service can be returned to consumers at the earliest possible time.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Megaupload founder extradition papers filed by US

March 5, 2012

BBC on March 5, 2012 released the following:

“A formal request for the extradition of Megaupload’s founder has been filed in New Zealand by the US government.

Prosecutors had had 45 days to make the application following Kim Dotcom’s arrest in January. The papers also call for the extradition of three other senior members of Megaupload’s staff.

The men are accused of helping make it possible for users to illegally download copyrighted material through their file-sharing site.

The accused deny criminal misconduct.

New Zealand court officials said the papers were filed on Friday. An extradition hearing has been scheduled for 20 August.

The US has accused Megaupload’s staff of racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud among other charges.

Prosecutors allege that the website cost copyright holders more than $500m (£320m; 380 euros) in lost revenue.

However, Mr Dotcom has described the scale of the claim as “nonsense”, telling New Zealand’s Channel 3 News that: “I’m no piracy king, I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.”

Mr Dotcom – a German national – was released on bail 12 days ago despite protests by the US that he posed an extreme flight risk.

However, a judge ruled that an electronic monitoring bracelet that he has to wear and the fact that his assets had been seized had reduced that risk.

Pending the hearing to determine if he should be sent to stand trial in the US, Mr Dotcom has been forbidden to use the internet and has been ordered to remain within the grounds of his leased Auckland estate.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.