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Kim Dotcom offers to go to US without extradition

Published: 9:14AM Wednesday July 11, 2012 Source: ONE News

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is offering to go to the United States without extradition, but he does have conditions.

The German national was arrested after police swooped on his home in January and stands accused of breaching copyright laws costing owners more than US$500 million.

Dotcom tweeted this morning that if federal authorities give him bail and unfreeze his funds so he can pay for lawyers and living expenses he will go to the US.

"Hey DOJ (Department of Justice), we will go to the US. No need for extradition. We want bail, funds unfrozen for lawyers & living expenses."

Dotcom's extradition hearing was scheduled to start at the North Shore District Court on August 6.

However, it was confirmed yesterday that it is now not expected to take place until late in March next year.

Dotcom took to Twitter to vent his frustration over the delay.

"Extradition hearing delayed til March. Dirty delay tactics by the US. They destroyed my business. Took all my assets. Time does the rest," he tweeted.

Dotcom's lawyer Greg Towers told ONE News the delay is due to the complexity of the case, and that there are matters still before the courts that need to be dealt with.

Towers said the date change is not seen as an advantage or disadvantage in any way.

Dotcom's US lawyer Ira Rothken said that his defence team would have preferred a speedy hearing, but that they have no choice over the matter.

"We have no choice but to have delay, in order to have a fair hearing," he said in a video posted online.

He told Bloomberg Television that if Dotcom and his co-defendants would get a fair playing field, then they would come to the United States in a second.

Rothken said the US tactics were "dirty" by a matter of law.

"Not only did they go ahead, issue a press release to start this case, then shut down the entire Megaupload site so that consumers lost access...but then they went ahead and worked with New Zealand to violate the law on a search warrant and to violate the law by taking data off shore.

"The only wrongful acts that have been found as a matter of law in this case, are against the United States and New Zealand," he said.

Dotcom is on bail at his luxury Coatesville mansion awaiting the hearing.

In its highest-profile investigation into online piracy, the FBI alleges that Dotcom led a group that has netted USD$175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorisation.

His lawyers say the company simply offered online storage.

Looking for reliable provider

Dotcom also tweeted that he is looking "for reliable non-US based Hosting and Bandwidth providers in Europe, South America and Asia".

He said he was looking for a government which supports internet freedom.

"The US will lose plenty Internet business. Who wants it?"

And he tweeted that he was seeking online payment alternatives to US based Credit Cards and Paypal.

Invalid search warrants

Last month a High Court judge ruled the search warrants used to confiscate hard drive data and other personal items from the internet tycoon's Coatesville home in January were invalid.

During the initial search of Dotcom's rented mansion, police took dozens of items including anything that could store digital data, meaning home videos, CCTV footage and data from the swimming pool heating system were seized.

In a minute released yesterday Judge David Harvey said Crown lawyers would probably appeal the decision relating to the unlawfulness of the search and disclosure to the Court of Appeal.

He said an appeal from the Court of Appeal to the New Zealand Supreme Court could not be excluded.

"It was recognised, therefore, that the appeal process would take some time and that these appeals were necessary in light of concerns expressed on behalf of the respondents (Dotcom's lawyers) about access to information and their ability to properly resist the application for extradition."

Dotcom's lawyer Ira Rothken earlier told ONE News he has not ruled out seeking compensation from the New Zealand Government in a move that could potentially cost the taxpayer thousands.

Authorities allege Dotcom and his three co-accused - Mathias Ortmann, Fin Batato and Bram Van der Kolk - used Megaupload and its affiliated sites to knowingly make money from pirated movies and games.