Megaupload Founder Offers Deal to the US
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has offered to do a deal with U.S. prosecutors, who are seeking his extradition from New Zealand to the U.S.
"Hey DOJ, we will go to the US. No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers & living expenses," Dotcom said in a message on Twitter on Tuesday.
A District Court at North Shore in Auckland, New Zealand has rescheduled tentatively to March 25 next year the hearing on the extradition. It was earlier scheduled to commence on Aug. 6.
Dotcom has used his Twitter account frequently to mock the U.S.
But in an interview to The New Zealand Herald, Dotcom said the delays in the case were placing pressure on his ability to defend himself from the charges.
"They are sitting on all my money. I have no money to pay my lawyers. Every move they make, they know I have to send my lawyers there. They make it so I have no chance in the long run to defend myself. Lawyers need money too," he told the newspaper. Dotcom's assets were seized in January.
Dotcom told the newspaper he had accumulated millions of dollars in legal bills and had not been able to pay a single cent. "They just want to hang me out to dry and wait until there is no support left," he said.
Dotcom said he would willingly go to the U.S. if he and his co-defendants were given a guarantee of a fair trial, money to pay for defense and funds to support themselves and their families.
"They will never agree to this and that is because they can't win this case and they know that already," he told the newspaper.
Dotcom and colleagues, and two companies including Megaupload, were indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on Jan. 5, and charged with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement and money laundering, and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Dotcom and colleagues Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were arrested in Auckland by New Zealand authorities, who executed provisional arrest warrants requested by the U.S.
The U.S. case for Dotcom's extradition has however run into some issues.
Warrants used to seize external hard drives, laptops and phones from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's mansion in January were illegal, as also the shipment of copies of seized data overseas to the U.S., a New Zealand High Court judge ruled last month.
His lawyers appeared in the Auckland High Court seeking relief and reparation from the government after the Judge's order.
Judge David J. Harvey of the District Court at North Shore said that the counsels were agreed that the Aug. 6 date for the extradition should be abandoned in view of proceedings before the High Court to consider the remedies that were to be provided for unlawful search, the review proceedings in respect of his decision ordering disclosure of information to Dotcom to help him fight his extradition, and the clear indication that the U.S. would appeal the decision on the unlawfulness of the search.