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.

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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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US ‘the enemy’ says Dotcom judge

July 16, 2012

New Zealand Herald on July 16, 2012 released the following:

“By Hamish Fletcher

The judge due to hear Kim Dotcom’s extradition case has referred to the United States as “the enemy” in a discussion about copyright law.

District Court Judge David Harvey has heard parts of the case against the Megaupload founder, who was arrested with three colleagues in January after a request from the United States. The FBI has accused Dotcom and others working at Megaupload website of the world’s biggest case of criminal copyright violation.

Judge Harvey is not due to hear the internet mogul’s extradition case until next year but made his views on copyright known during the launch of the “Fair Deal” campaign last week.

The campaign is opposing any changes to New Zealand’s copyright laws that may form part of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The TPP trade deal is currently being negotiated and the 13th round of talks are finishing up.

The negotiations are secret but it is known that the United States entertainment industry is pushing for stronger copyright provisions among the 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region negotiating the deal.

When talking about how the TPP would affect copyright in New Zealand, Harvey said it could stop the practice of hacking around DVD region codes.

These codes can mean movie players in New Zealand are unable to read DVDs from other parts of the world such as the United States.

It is legal in New Zealand to use methods to get around these regional codes and make the DVDs watchable but Judge Harvey said the TPP would change this.

“Under TPP and the American Digital Millennium copyright provisions you will not be able to do that, that will be prohibited… if you do you will be a criminal – that’s what will happen. Even before the 2008 amendments it wasn’t criminalised. There are all sorts of ways this whole thing is being ramped up and if I could use Russell [Brown’s] tweet from earlier on: we have met the enemy and he is [the] U.S.”

Judge Harvey’s remark is a play on the line “we have met the enemy and he is us” by American cartoonist Walt Kelly.

The judge had used Kelly’s quip while speaking at an internet conference earlier last week and it was promoted on Twitter by Public Address journalist Russell Brown.

Judge Harvey, who has served on the bench since 1989, would not comment when asked if these statements were appropriate given his involvement in Kim Dotcom’s case.

Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge said the comments could be seen as “unhelpful”.

However, without knowing the details of the TPP discussion or related copyright issues he was unable to say whether the comments were appropriate.

“To the extent that the North Shore District Court has some jurisdiction, it can be seen as probably an extra-judicial comment that isn’t helpful.

“But on the other hand, it was part of a quasi-academic conference discussing developing areas of law. I think judges should be free to make comments, as long as it doesn’t appear to show any predetermination with respect to the specific case in the court before them.”

Crown Law, which is representing the FBI in the extradition case, would not comment on the issue.”

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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?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

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Kim Dotcom: I’ll extradite myself to US if they give my money back

July 12, 2012

The Guardian on July 10, 2012 released the following:

“Megaupload founder fighting extradition from New Zealand says he is determined to beat American authorities at their ‘foul game’

Toby Manhire in Auckland

From a semi-rural suburb north of Auckland, Kim Dotcom is mounting an increasingly belligerent counter-offensive against US authorities’ efforts to prosecute him over his now defunct Megaupload file storage site.

In an interview with the Guardian, Dotcom, who remains on bail in Coatesville, New Zealand, awaiting an extradition hearing, declared himself to be in “fighting mood” and eager to refute a “case built on malicious conduct”.

The charges against him, he said, were part of a “foul game” on the part of the US government, and that funds permitting, “I am going to war.”

Dotcom is being sought by the US to face criminal copyright charges related to the MegaUpload file storage site, which at its peak amounted for an estimated 4% of all internet traffic.

Prosecutors allege he and his co-accused associates were complicit in and encouraged the distribution of copyright-protected films, music and other material.

The German-born New Zealand resident’s remarks, in an email interview with the Guardian, follow Tuesday’s announcement that his extradition hearing, scheduled to begin in less than a month, has been put back until April next year.

On Wednesday morning Dotcom laid down the gauntlet to the US department of justice, offering to travel to the US under his own steam and faces charges – with conditions. “Hey DOJ,” Dotcom said on his Twitter account, “we will go to the US. No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers and living expenses.”

He told the Guardian that the offer was genuine but he was not holding his breath. “Considering the way the US government has conducted their case and the way I was treated, I never expect to get a fair trial in the United States,” he said.

“We are not expecting to hear back regarding the offer and I remain committed to fighting extradition in New Zealand.”

Dotcom has 22 lawyers working on his case in different countries. He says he faces a mounting legal bill, exacerbated by the rescheduled extradition hearing.

The delay was made inevitable by the need to first resolve a clutter of outstanding legal disputes. The Auckland high court ruled last month that the January raid on Dotcom’s mansion was conducted illegally, that evidence has been wrongly withheld from his legal team, and that the FBI had inappropriately cloned hard drives and taken them from the country.

An earlier district court instruction for the FBI to provide copies of cloned drives to Dotcom’s lawyers is expected to be appealed, and other decisions may also be taken to higher courts.

Those who interpreted the postponement as a victory for Dotcom were mistaken, he told the Guardian. “People might think it’s good news. But it’s not. Justice delayed is justice denied. And that’s the foul game the US government is playing. They have terminated my business without a trial. They have frozen my assets without a hearing.

“They are appealing the decision of a New Zealand judge who has ordered the US government to provide evidence before the extradition hearing starts.”

US authorities had dragged other countries into a vendetta driven by special interests, he said. “They have been misleading the Hong Kong and New Zealand government to destroy a legitimate business and 220 jobs by telling them stories about child pornography and terrorist propaganda on Megaupload,” he said.

“This whole case is built on malicious conduct. It is a stillborn case and everyone can see it. I am in a fighting mood and if I get my assets unlocked or somehow find funding to defend myself I am going to war.”

The Megaupload founder last week alleged that the pursuit of Dotcom was directly ordered by the US vice-president, Joe Biden, at the behest of Hollywood studio executives – a claim the Motion Picture Association of America has rejected.

Next in Dotcom’s sights is Biden’s boss, in a rather more colourful medium. Dotcom, who has been recording an album with the help of Black Eyed Peas producer Printz Board at studios belonging to Crowded House’s Neil Finn, is expected to release a new song and video this week pointing the finger directly at Barack Obama. The song reportedly includes the lyrics “”We must oppose / those who chose / to turn innovation into crime”.

The track, Dotcom wrote in an email to the Guardian, would mark “the birth of a powerful movement and CHANGE””

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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?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call:

           Office Locations

Email:


US will ‘struggle’ to extradite Kim Dotcom

February 16, 2012

3news.co.nz on February 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Imogen Crispe

Internet piracy-accused Kim Dotcom could avoid extradition on a legal technicality, a previous benchmark case shows.

The US is currently looking to extradite the Megaupload founder but charges central to the case may not be sufficient to send Dotcom back.

Copyright infringement, one of Dotcom’s main charges is not covered in the US-New Zealand extradition treaty, and a 2002 case shows racketeering is not either.

In the historic case Bob Cullinane faced US charges of racketeering, visa fraud, alien smuggling and harbouring.

The case took two years and went to the Court of Appeal before Cullinane was discharged.

It concluded that racketeering and other offences were not extraditable offences under the Treaty.

The Treaty on Extradition lists many serious charges a person can be extradited on back to the US, including murder and assault.

Chapman Tripp partner Matt Sumpter told the National Business Review the US government would “struggle to extradite” on copyright and racketeering charges.

However, Philip Morgan QC, the lawyer for the accused Cullinane in the 2002 case, says racketeering and copyright infringement could be covered by the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.

This could potentially override treaty laws between the US and New Zealand.

But Lowndes Jordon partner and copyright law expert Rick Shera told National Business Review the other charges seemed to rely on the copyright infringement charge.

He says this makes any extradition laws around the subsequent charges irrelevant.

Dotcom is currently being held in the Auckland Remand Prison after failing to get bail.

His lawyers last week appeared in the High Court at Auckland to fight restraining orders around Dotcom’s assets.”

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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.


US cites United Nations treaty in Megaupload case

February 13, 2012

Computer World on February 13, 2012 released the following:

“Judge in bail hearing questions whether Dotcom extradition is lawful

BY MICHAEL FOREMAN

The United States government will be relying on a United Nations treaty aimed at combating international organised crime as the legal basis of its extradition to the US of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and other co-accused.

While the extradition hearing is scheduled to take place on February 22, some of the legal arguments that will be made at that hearing were foreshadowed at a bail-refusal appeal heard at Auckland High Court on February 3.

During the bail appeal, Dotcom’s lawyer Paul Davison QC, said the US was seeking to have Dotcom and other employees of Megaupload extradited in relation to charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, money laundering and copyright infringement.

At this point the judge, Justice Raynor Asher interrupted Davison, asking him: “These are extradition offences? I assume you have satisfied yourself on that?”

Davison replied that criminal breach of copyright was not a scheduled offence [under New Zealand’s extradition treaty with the US]. The racketeering charge was said to have a similarity with a scheduled offence however “everything is derivative” from the copyright infringement charge.

“The funds which were derived from the business activity and the involvement of a group of people around the business activity is the basis of the allegation that this was racketeering … the movement of business proceeds and funds then becomes an allegation of money laundering, but the whole thing is pinned back to the existence of a criminal breach of copyright.

“I am not able to advance a position at this stage which would be as strong as to say that there is no strength to the US government’s case. But suffice to say that there is a substantial challenge to it, and it’s not at all clear that this is an extraditable situation.”

Asked whether he had discussed these matters with Crown prosecutor Anne Toohey, Davison said he had been waiting for ten or 12 days for the prosecution to respond to his request for documents.

“I have been frustrated by being unable to get access to a range of documents that underpin the steps that were taken to issue the provisional [arrest] warrant.”

“I have been requesting the Crown to provide me with the requisite documents, I have been told that the police hold the requisite documents and the police will respond.”

Davison said that the legal basis of the extradition request “may give rise to another proceeding”.

“It is a fundamental matter, it’s not being overlooked, and it is likely to be litigated,” he said.

Fergus Sinclair, a lawyer with the Crown Law Office who appeared as co-counsel with Toohey on behalf of the United States, said that while it was true no copyright offences were named in the extradition treaty, certain crimes where they involved trans-national organised crime, were subject to section 101b of the Extradition Act.

Under this section any offence which was punishable by a prison sentence of more than four years was deemed to be extraditable, and under the New Zealand Copyright Act the distribution of an infringing work could be punished by up to five years in prison.

Sinclair cited the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (TOC), which was passed by a UN general assembly resolution in 2000, as the basis of invoking the organised crime provisions of the Extradition Act.

Under the terms of TOC Sinclair said an “organised criminal group” had to consist of a structured group of three or more persons acting in concert with the aim of committing serious crime.

He said there were seven defendants in the Megaupload case, and that according to US grand jury indictment of January 5 members of the Megaupload conspiracy engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale with estimated harm to copyright holders in excess of US$500 million.

Since the bail appeal hearing, several legal commentators have expressed the view that the Megaupload extradition case could be appealed to the New Zealand Supreme Court.

IT lawyer Rick Shera said that Davison’s submissions reinforced his opinion that the extradition case would be complicated.

“My view has always been that there’s a clear issue as to whether the extradition treaty is the end of the story or whether section 101b of the Extradition Act would be involved. Whatever happens you still go back to the [New Zealand] Copyright Act where differences between the NZ and US legislation may become significant.

“I would expect that after the first or second round, one or other of the parties will appeal.

“There hasn’t been a case like this in New Zealand before and, as far as you can you look at it from a general perspective and considering what is at stake, you would want it to be heard by the Supreme Court.””

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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

————————————————————–

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.