Megaupload owner granted access to U.S. case documents
A New Zealand court has upheld a court ruling that allows Kim Dotcom to review certain case documents relating to a U.S. federal case being brought against him. Judge Helen Winklemann upheld the earlier ruling as, in her view, disclosure of the documents would encourage a fair hearing. U.S. prosecutors, for what it’s worth, argued the Megaupload.com owner should have “narrowly limited” access to the documents.
The documents relate to a case being brought against Dotcom by U.S. prosecutors under which he is accused of racketeering, money laundering and allowing illegal downloads to take place. Kim maintains that he’s not responsible for any of those that chose to use the site for illegal means and the extradition case will merely be the next stage in this lengthily battle and a lot boils down to the huge sums of cash involved.
Dotcom reacted in typical style by inviting three lucky followers the chance to celebrate once the FBI unfreezes his funds. He tweeted: When my funds are unfrozen I will host 3 of my followers at the Dotcom Mansion. RT to qualify. http://instagr.am/p/OTdhj-Mkab/
The charge sheet being levelled against Dotcom could see him incarcerated for 20+ years with the U.S. claiming the firm made some $175 million over seven years. During the now infamous January raid on Dotcom’s house, when US authorities became movie stars for one day only, they seized around $500 million worth of assets, which are the ones mentioned above.
Dotcom’s fate, and that of Brit Richard O’Dwyer, could have a huge effect on the freedom the internet currently enjoys. If both are found guilty by U.S. authorities and they manage to push through a SOPA/PIPA look-a-likey law the Internet, as we know it, will be extinct.
Lawyers representing the two will continue to argue that both sites have no legal presence in the U.S. with Megaupload headquartered in Hong Kong and Dotcom’s main residence in New Zealand (O’Dwyer’s TVshack site in the U.K.). The fact it’s come to court at all goes to show how much caution should be taken when the elongated arm of U.S. law enforcement starts to flex its muscles all over the globe.