Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is eligible to be extradited to the US to face multiple charges, a New Zealand court has ruled.
Kim Dotcom, who is accused of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering, said he will appeal.
The 39-year-old, born Kim Schmitz, founded the now-defunct file-sharing site MegaUpload where millions of people downloaded movies and songs.
US authorities say Kim Dotcom and others cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million.
Kim Dotcom, a German national who has been living in Auckland and describes himself as an “internet freedom fighter” on his Twitter page, has fought the case arguing that he was not responsible for the copyright infringement.
Three other men, who co-founded the site with Kim Dotcom and face similar charges, have also been ruled as eligible for extradition.
The hearing which began in September was not to determine Kim Dotcom’s guilt, but whether he should be sent to the US to be tried.
Judge Nevin Dawson told the court in Auckland that the US has a “large body of evidence” supporting the case and that the defendants “fall well short of undermining the case”, reported news outlet Stuff.
After the ruling, Kim Dotcom tweeted: “Thank you for your support. The fight goes on. Enjoy the holidays. I’m happy to be with my kids. There are bigger things than copyright.”
A member of Kim Dotcom’s legal team, Ira Rothken, also tweeted: “The @KimDotcom team looks forward to having the US request for extradition reviewed in the High Court.”
“We believe the (district court) was wrong… Justice was not served today.”
In an interview with New Zealand Herald earlier this week, Kim Dotcom said he plans to take separate legal action in Hong Kong, where he founded MegaUpload.
He said he plans to sue the Hong Kong justice department and seek more than $2 billion in damages for taking down his site. Earlier this month a Hong Kong court allowed him to access some of his frozen assets held there.
“I now have the opportunity to fight back in Hong Kong and take legal action against those who have destroyed what I have built there and that means I can sue, indirectly the US government by suing the Hong Kong Department of Justice,” Kim Dotcom was quoted as saying.