US applies to extradite Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom from New Zealand

US authorities have made a formal request for the extradition of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom from New Zealand

US authorities have made a formal request for the extradition of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom from New Zealand.

Dotcom, a dual citizen of Germany and Finland who changed his name from Schmitz, was detained in January at the request of US authorities on charges of copyright infringement conspiracy.

Megaupload’s founder was charged in the US because some of the site’s servers were based in Virginia and Washington, according to the US Justice Department.

The Megaupload boss was initially denied bail, but later released on bail in February, despite protests by US federal prosecutors, who have also called for the extradition of three other senior members of Megaupload's staff, according to the BBC.  

The men are accused of helping users illegally download copyrighted material through the Megaupload file-sharing site. US prosecutors claim the illegal downloads have cost copyright holders more than $500m in lost revenue.

The US has also accused the men of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud, among other charges. But Dotcom denies the charges, claiming he merely offered online storage and bandwidth to users and nothing more.

An extradition hearing has been scheduled for 20 August. Until then, Dotcom has been forbidden to use the internet and has been ordered to remain in the grounds of his leased Auckland estate.

Senior Megaupload staff members Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk are also under house arrest.

Dotcom faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty in a US trial.

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