US difficulties over Megaupload case continue

The US authorities have demanded the extradition of Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom from New Zealand to the US to stand trial on charges including copyright infringement, conspiring to commit copyright infringement and conspiring to commit money laundering.

Megaupload’s lawyers requested details of the charges so that they could defend the extradition request. The US declined, saying that Megaupload was not entitled to disclosure for extradition. Now, however, New Zealand judge David J Harvey has ruled that extradition from New Zealand involves New Zealand procedural rules – and has ordered extensive disclosure from the US. This includes documents on the copyright ownership, documents on the alleged copyright infringement and documents on Megaupload’s reward scheme. Documents on the other charges of money laundering, racketeering, and wire fraud are also required, usually in the terms of ‘all documents...’ The judge has given the US 21 days to comply.

Meanwhile, Megaupload’s lawyers in the US have formally applied for the indictment to be dismissed. The argument is simply that the US has no jurisdiction over Megaupload. The motion to dismiss points out that Megaupload is not a US company nor has any offices in the US. “The Federal Rules,” claims the motion, “do not contemplate service of a criminal summons on a wholly foreign corporation without an agent or offices in the United States. Wholly foreign corporations, therefore, may not be prosecuted for alleged violations of federal criminal law unless they waive service. In short, a corporation such as Megaupload cannot be brought within the jurisdiction of this Court for criminal proceedings absent its consent.”

The proposed order in the motion succinctly concludes, “The Superseding Indictment against Defendant Megaupload Limited is DISMISSED.” If granted, this case is over. With problems mounting in both the US and New Zealand it is becoming difficult to see any other outcome.

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