WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – Two men accused by the US Attorney’s Office of racketeering and other crimes for participating in the once very popular file-sharing site Megaupload said on Tuesday that they had reached an agreement to avoid extradition to the US in exchange for charges. charges in New Zealand.
The deal between former Megaupload officers Matthias Ortman and Bram van der Kolk means that only the bright Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who also lives in New Zealand, is still facing the possibility of extradition to the US in the long run.
U.S. authorities shut down Megaupload in 2012, saying it received at least $ 175 million, mostly from people who used it to illegally download songs, TV shows and movies. The Department of Justice describes the case as the largest copyright criminal case in U.S. history.
Faced with the possibility of spending decades in U.S. prisons if convicted, Dotcom and two other men have been battling extradition through New Zealand’s legal system for the past 10 years.
Last year, the Supreme Court of New Zealand ruled that the troika could be extradited. But the final decision on extradition remained with Justice Minister Chris Faofoi. And even this decision could be appealed.
In a statement issued through their attorney Peter Spring, Ortmann and van der Kolk said the uncertainty of the case had greatly affected their lives and it was time to move on.
“Accordingly, we have reached an agreement with the New Zealand government and the United States that we have agreed to be charged in New Zealand with crimes similar to those we face in the United States.”
The couple added that New Zealand has now become their home, “and we want to stay here.”
Lawyers for Dotcom and other men have long argued that if anyone was guilty of the case, the pirated materials were chosen by users of the site, not the founders. But prosecutors say the men were the architects of a large criminal enterprise.
Dotcom and two other men were once close friends, but quarreled after the creation of the new Mega company after the closure of Megaupload.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Dotcom said his former friends would testify against him as part of their deal, but he did not blame them.
“I would like to congratulate my former friends and partners on finding a solution,” Dotcom wrote. “They can escape the horrific U.S. justice system. I am happy for them. After 10 years of American law, I understand why they gave up. I do not blame them and sincerely wish them all the best. “
Dotcom has promised to continue the fight against this case.
“I will not accept the injustice we have suffered,” he wrote. “If I have to go to jail for what Megaupload users have done on our site, then many Big Tech CEOs are in the same boat with me.”
Earlier, the US Attorney’s Office withdrew an application for extradition against the fourth employee of the company arrested in New Zealand, Finn Batat.
In 2015, Megaupload programmer Andrus Nom of Estonia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to infringe copyright and was sentenced to one year and one day in a U.S. federal prison.
Suggest a fix