Kim Dotcom Resigns Mega to Focus on Fighting Extradition to the United States and Other Projects

September 4, 2013

The New Zealand Herald on September 4, 2013 released the following:

“Flamboyant internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has resigned as a director of his Mega data storage empire to focus on his efforts on fighting extradition to the United States and other projects.

Dotcom resigned as a director of Mega on Aug 29, and was replaced by Hong Kong-based Bonnie Lam the same day, according to filings to the Companies Office.

Dotcom staged a full-scale global media launch for Mega last year to replace Megaupload, his previous venture which was shut down in a US-led operation that alleged the file-sharing firm and its owners had committed mass copyright infringement and money laundering of more than US$500 million. Tony Lentino and Mathias Ortmann are still on Mega’s board.

Mega chief executive Vikram Kumar told BusinessDesk in an emailed statement Dotcom resigned “to be able to focus on the extradition case, an upcoming music website, and to build a political party.”

Dotcom doesn’t hold any directorships in New Zealand, and has one direct shareholding in RSV Holdings, according to Companies Office filings. His wife, Mona, is a director of Mr KimDotcom Ltd and a director and shareholder in MD Corporate Trustee Ltd, the biggest shareholder in Mega.

Earlier this week Dotcom told followers on Twitter he planned to launch a political party in New Zealand, with the next election likely to be near the end of next year, and has previously signalled plans for web-based music service called Megabox.

Dotcom and his co-accused Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk have taken their case to the Supreme Court, seeking access to evidence in the US Federal government’s case to extradite them, and are awaiting a decision.

The District and High Courts upheld their request for a trimmed down disclosure, though that was overturned in the Court of Appeal earlier this year.

Dotcom’s high profile arrest in January last year led to an overhaul of New Zealand’s external spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, after the intelligence unit unlawfully intercepted his communications. At the time of the surveillance, the GCSB wasn’t allowed to spy on New Zealand residents and Dotcom had been granted residency.

The government has since tweaked the law governing the spy agency, allowing it to act on behalf of the domestic spy agency, the Security Intelligence Service, the police or the Defence Force.”

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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 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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Govt lawyers red-faced after FBI spirits Dotcom evidence to US

May 23, 2012

New Zealand Herald on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“By David Fisher

The Government’s lawyers have been ordered to explain how the FBI left the country with evidence in the Kim Dotcom case meant to be kept in “secure custody” by New Zealand police.

High Court Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann has told the Attorney-General’s lawyer, Mike Ruffin, he has until Monday to explain why FBI agents were allowed to take 135 cloned computer and data storage devices to the United States.

At a legal challenge at the High Court in Auckland yesterday, Dotcom’s lawyer Paul Davison, QC, called the revelation “high-handed” at best and “at the worst misleading”.

Mr Davison and lawyers for Dotcom’s three co-accused want a judicial review into search warrants used during FBI-inspired raids on January 20. Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortman and Bram van der Kolk were arrested over allegations of criminal copyright violation through their file-sharing website Megaupload.

Mr Davison said he asked for assurances in correspondence with Mr Ruffin’s predecessor, Anne Toohey, that no evidence would leave New Zealand shores unless on the back of a court decision.

Crown Law had told him it had “not happened and will not happen without prior warning”. He said yesterday was the first time he was aware any material had left the country and there had been an agreement to maintain the “status quo” over the evidence. “There is no approval for the removal of these clones from New Zealand. There has been an excess of authority.”

Mr Davison said the correspondence included a statement from the head of the police organised crime squad, Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, that the belongings were held in secure custody.

He said Dotcom’s rights had been “subverted or disregarded or worse”.

The revelation is the latest embarrassment for the Crown, which has already been exposed for fumbling parts of the case. It used the wrong law to get a court order to seize Dotcom’s assets – an error which contributed to the police having to offer an undertaking of liability. There had earlier been discontent over the size, scale and style of the police raid which Davison has said will form a complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

Yesterday, Mr Ruffin said he was aware the cloned copies had been sent out of New Zealand. However, he said he was unaware of Ms Toohey’s assurances to Mr Davison.

Mr Ruffin told the court a set of digital images copied from the computers had been taken to the US. “The actual items seized under the search warrant remain in New Zealand,” he said.

The Crown Law Office and Attorney-General Chris Finlayson refused to comment.”

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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: mcnabb.mcnabbassociates

           Office Locations

Email:


Megaupload founder faces lengthy extradition battle

January 25, 2012

Thomson Reuters on January 25, 2012 released the following:

Reporting by Gyles Beckford and Rebecca Hamilton

“Jan 25 (Reuters) – Efforts by the United States to extradite the mastermind of an alleged Internet piracy scheme from New Zealand to face copyright infringement and money laundering charges are likely to be long and complex.

Kim Dotcom, a German national also known as Kim Schmitz, will be held in custody in New Zealand until Feb. 22 ahead of a hearing of a U.S. extradition application.

U.S. authorities claim Dotcom’s file-sharing site, Megaupload.com, has netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization. Dotcom’s lawyers say the company simply offered online storage and that he will fight extradition.

“It could take some considerable time to get through the whole thing,” said senior New Zealand lawyer Grant Illingworth, adding there were rights of appeal and procedural review to both sides.

Dotcom, 38, and three others, were arrested on Friday after a police raid at his rented country estate, reputedly New Zealand’s most expensive home, at the request of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Under New Zealand’s extradition law the prosecution must show there is enough evidence that would substantiate charges against Dotcom and the others accused of breaching local copyright laws.

“What the judge has to do is decide whether there is a prima facie case that would justify the person being put on trial if the offence had occurred in New Zealand,” Illingworth said.

“If the evidence doesn’t make out, what under New Zealand law amounts to a prima facie case, then the person walks away.”

A 1970 extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand gives the U.S. 45 days from the time of Dotcom’s arrest to request extradition. The New Zealand Extradition Act, passed in 1999, gives the United States preferential status to access a streamlined process for making its request.

The judge who refused Dotcom bail said he could not assess whether the United States had a strong enough case against Dotcom, nor whether he had a good defense.

“All I can say is that there appears to be an arguable defense, at least in respect of the breach of copyright charges,” Judge David McNaughton wrote in his judgement.

CIVIL MATTER

Copyright infringement and illegal file sharing are normally civil matters in New Zealand, but there is a provision for criminal charges and a maximum 5-year jail term for serious breaches.

Rick Shea, a partner at Lowndes Jordan in Auckland, said there were some differences between New Zealand and U.S. copyright law, in terms of knowledge, that could be an issue.

Douglas McNabb, a U.S. lawyer who specializes in extradition defense, said extraditions to the United States have to meet probable cause – the same standard that is required for making arrests in the United States.

Although the extradition hearing is not a test of guilt or innocence, McNabb said Dotcom’s lawyers may argue they should be allowed a limited discovery process to show that probable cause has not been met.

Prime Minister John Key said the issues raised were serious and New Zealand would co-operate with the U.S. authorities.

“This is the largest, most significant case in Internet piracy so New Zealand is certainly going to work with the United States authorities to allow them to extradite Kim Dotcom,” he said on TV3.

According to Shea, New Zealand has never had an extradition proceeding involving copyright law. “I wouldn’t expect this to be sorted out quickly,” he said.

AGGRESSIVE CHARGES

Anthony Falzone, Director for Copyright and Fair Use at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, said it was too early to comment on the strength of the case, but questioned whether some of the allegations in the indictment would actually push Megaupload outside the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The indictment “pushes some pretty aggressive theories”, Falzone said.

The most recent Supreme Court case to deal with similar issues was in 2005. In MGM v. Grokster, the U.S. court highlighted the importance of intent in determining if an Internet firm was liable for its users infringing copyright.

“A lot of the Megaupload case may also rise and fall on the question of intent,” said Falzone.

With MGM, the court found the intent of the Internet company from the beginning was to build a tool to facilitate illegal sharing.

“Maybe that’s what the Feds (FBI) think they have here, too,” said Falzone.

The case is USA v. Kim DotCom et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, no. 1:12CR3.”

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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.