New Zealand court rules US authorities are putting Kim Dotcom defence team at disadvantage by refusing to share evidence against him
The FBI must hand over more evidence of Kim Dotcom's alleged internet piracy to his defence team, a New Zealand judge has ruled.
The founder of the Megaupload site is facing an extradition hearing next March on various charges related to copyright infringement. But the FBI has already hit a couple of snags in its bids to force Dotcom to face these charges in the US.
In June a New Zealand court ruled that the initial raid on Dotcom's mansion and the way in which police collected evidence was illegal. Now it has been ruled that his defence team must have access to evidence the FBI has ahead of the extradition hearing,
Justice Helen Winkelmann said that without this evidence Dotcom's defence team would be "significantly constrained," and the US would gain "a significant advantage."
Dotcom was arrested in January this year on charges of money laundering, racketeering, fraud and illegally distributing movies and music through the Megaupload site.
The US Department of Justice alleges that around $175m went into the company's coffers to from membership fees and advertising revenue. However, it is alleged the cost to the movie industry was far higher and loss of earnings has been estimated at around $500m (£322m).
Born Kim Schmitz, Dotcom, pictured below, changed his name in 2005.
Dotcom, who is currently fighting to get Facebook and Twitter to recognise his identity, remains on bail, but faces up to 20 years in jail if he is extradited to the US and found guilty of the charges laid against him.
This week a British man was jailed in Newcastle Crown Court for four years for fraud for hosting links to pirated films and student Richard O'Dwyer is fighting extradition to the US on similar charges.
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