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Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom will be allowed to stream his appeal against extradition live online, a judge in New Zealand ruled.

The Megaupload founder is wanted in the United States on charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering.

The US had opposed Kim Dotcom’s proposal to broadcast the hearing on YouTube.

He said on Twitter that the decision was “breaking new ground” and streaming would start on August 31.

Kim Dotcom’s lawyer said the move was “democracy at its finest”.

“It provides everybody in the world with a seat in the gallery of the New Zealand courtroom,” Ira Rothken told the AP, saying there would be a 20 minute delay on the live feed.Kim Dotcom extradition hearing

The German-born entrepreneur ran file-sharing site Megaupload.com, which once had million of users storing files and downloading movies and songs.

The FBI took control of the website and other domain names belonging to the business in January 2012. Federal prosecutors said it had cost movie studios, music labels and other copyright-holders more than $500 million in lost revenue.

In December 2015, a New Zealand court ruled that Kim Dotcom could be extradited to face charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering.

Kim Dotcom’s lawyers launched an appeal, arguing that he should not be held responsible for the actions of the site’s users, and did not get a fair hearing.

The request for livestreaming came on the first day of the appeal hearing in Auckland, which is expected to last up to eight weeks.

Another defense lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said there were “unprecedented issues of public and international interest” raised by the case and added that coverage should not be limited to traditional media.

Lawyers for the United States had said streaming could influence a potential future jury.


The High Court judge, Justice Murray Gilbert, criticized the fact the request had not been made in advance but said he wanted to hear the views of local media outlets before making a decision.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has declared himself “broke”.

Kim Dotcom said he had spent $10 million on legal costs since being arrested in New Zealand in 2012 and accused of internet piracy.

He had employed a local law firm to fight the US’s attempt to extradite him, but his defense team stepped down two weeks ago without explaining why.

Kim Dotcom said he would now represent himself at a bail hearing on November 27.

He denies charges of racketeering, conspiring to commit copyright infringement and money laundering.

Kim Dotcom told a conference in London, via a video link, that his lawyers had resigned because he had run out of money.

“The [US authorities] have certainly managed to drain my resources and dehydrate me, and without lawyers I am defenseless,” he said.

“They used that opportunity to try and get my bail revoked and that’s what I’m facing.”

Kim Dotcom’s declaration comes seven months after he won back access to about $750,000 worth of property – including several of his cars – that had been taken at the time of his arrest. However, other assets, including dozens of bank accounts, remained frozen.

The German national’s finances have also been put under strain after he helped bankroll a political party that failed to win a seat in September’s general election in New Zealand.

“Before I started my political movement – the Internet Party – I was quite popular in New Zealand,” Kim Dotcom told the digital business conference.

“After I got involved in politics and the prime minister of New Zealand and his party attacked me viciously, labeling me a Nazi… and [saying] I’m only starting my political party to fight my extradition… New Zealanders unfortunately have bought into that narrative and today I’m a pariah.

“The witch-hunt worked, and everyone wants to see me burn, and next Thursday I might go to jail because of that.”

Kim Dotcom does, however, continue to retain a lawyer in the US, who gave an interview to Radio New Zealand after Kim Dotcom’s comments.

“There are assets frozen across the globe, there are mechanisms in place for getting relief from those frozen assets – we’re hopeful that courts across the globe, including in Hong Kong and New Zealand, will do the right thing and release funds to counsel,” said Ira Rothken.

“This is the largest copyright case in the history of the United States and New Zealand. It’s a very expensive case. And the governments are making this a war of attrition.

“They’re trying to outspend Kim Dotcom. They are trying to win on procedure rather than merit. And we’re going to do the best that we can so Kim Dotcom has a fair playing field.”

Ira Rothken added there were still about 20 lawyers working on the case.

Kim Dotcom launched a follow-up online storage company, Mega, in 2013, and in March said it was valued at 210 million New Zealand dollars ($164 million).

The business is set to be floated on New Zealand’s stock exchange later this year.

However, Kim Dotcom does not directly own a stake in the business himself and is no longer one of its directors.

Kim Dotcom’s wife, Mona, does own 16.2% of its shares, but the two are separated.

Mona Dotcom revealed in June that she had moved into a guest house about 165ft away from Kim Dotcom’s mansion so their five children could still be close to their father.

Kim Dotcom has revealed that his rent is pre-paid until mid-2015 and he plans to return to court “soon” to try to unfreeze more of his assets.

The next extradition hearing into his case is not scheduled until February 2015, providing him an opportunity to hire more local lawyers if he can obtain the funds.

The US Justice Department claims Megaupload made more than $175 million before it was closed and cost film, TV and other rights-holders more than $500 million.

Kim Dotcom, Megaupload founder, has set up a new cloud storage and file-sharing site.

Mega, a web-based service that lets people upload and store files of any kind, is a sequel to the Megaupload system that was shut down last January.

Police raids on the offices and home of Kim Dotcom led to the closure of Megaupload.

The Mega site went online at dawn on Sunday, with Kim Dotcom due to hold a gala at his New Zealand mansion later.

Kim Dotcom has said the new site complies with the law and warned that attempts to take it down would be futile.

“This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood,” Kim Dotcom told Reuters on Saturday.

“Legally, there’s just nothing there that could be used to shut us down. This site is just as legitimate and has the right to exist as Dropbox, Boxnet and other competitors.”

Mega, a web-based service that lets people upload and store files of any kind, is a sequel to the Megaupload system that was shut down last January

Mega, a web-based service that lets people upload and store files of any kind, is a sequel to the Megaupload system that was shut down last January

Hours after the site was launched, Kim Dotcom tweeted that it had received 250,000 user registrations, although limited server capacity meant Mega was unreachable to many.

In a series of earlier tweets Kim Dotcom said every customer would have 50 gigabytes of free storage – far more than is offered by rival services such as Dropbox or Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

Mega will be encrypted so only those who upload data have access to it.

Data is also being held in the cloud to make it easy for users to get and share files.

The 2012 raids on Megaupload were carried out because, said US law enforcement, many users of Megaupload were engaged in pirating content and illegally sharing it.

They accused Kim Dotcom and other managers at Megaupload of profiting from piracy.

KIm Dotcom has rebuffed the accusations and is fighting a legal battle to stay in New Zealand from where he ran Megaupload.

A hearing on whether he is can be extradited to the US is due to be held in March.

The case has generated controversy in New Zealand over the way the police and intelligence services gathered evidence before the raid and won an apology to Kim Dotcom from the country’s prime minister.

KIm Dotcom has also won support from prominent computer pioneers such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

The raid on Megaupload put 25 petabytes of data uploaded to it by its 50 million members into a legal limbo.

In one message, Kim Dotcom said he was working with lawyers and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns on digital rights issues, to get access to that seized data and return it to users.

The FBI is accused of “illegally” copying evidence used in a case against file-sharing site Megaupload.

Megaupload was shut down in January and its operators arrested in New Zealand because, alleged the FBI, it was being used to pirate content.

Lawyers acting for Megaupload said the FBI had illegally removed hard drives containing evidence.

NZ government lawyers said the removal was legal because the relevant law only covered “physical” items.

Megaupload lawyers leveled the accusation at the FBI in an Auckland court saying the FBI had broken written agreements covering what could be done to digital evidence.

The FBI is accused of "illegally" copying evidence used in a case against file-sharing site Megaupload

The FBI is accused of "illegally" copying evidence used in a case against file-sharing site Megaupload

New Zealand police seized seven hard drives during raids on Megaupload when the site was shut down. The written agreements said the drives should not be handed to US investigators prior to a hearing to decide how they were to be treated.

However, Megaupload lawyers say that FBI agents copied the drives and took the cloned information back to the US before the hearing took place.

If the copying and removal was done without the consent of the New Zealand authorities it would constitute an “illegal act”, said Megaupload lawyers.

The New Zealand authorities were summoned to court to explain how the FBI was allowed to remove the data from the country.

The government’s legal head said the agreement the FBI was accused of breaking did not apply in this case. He said the relevant document only covered “physical” material not information.

The trial of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and the site’s management team is due to start on 6 August.