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Megaupload founder Dotcom can be extradited, NZ court rules

The latest chapter in the lengthy Kim Dotcom saga was written on Wednesday after a New Zealand court ruled that the Internet entrepreneur can be extradited to the U.S. to face copyright infringement charges, among others.

The decision by the Auckland court comes three months after legal proceedings on the matter began and almost four years after police in the country raided his mansion in a dramatic operation backed by the FBI.

In a tweet posted soon after the court announced its ruling, Dotcom thanked his supporters and confirmed he’ll be appealing the decision.

Three others appearing alongside Dotcom on similar charges were also deemed eligible for extradition by the court. If convicted, Dotcom and the other defendants could be served jail terms lasting decades.

The charges, which as well as copyright infringement include racketeering and money laundering, relate to Megaupload, an online service operated by Dotcom that was closed down by the U.S. authorities in early 2012.

Related: A timeline of events leading up to Dotcom’s arrest in 2012

On the face of it, Megaupload, which had around 150 million users, functioned as a file-storage platform where users could  store, backup, and view their files. However, it was often used as a file-sharing service where users accessed music, movies, and other copyrighted material, a situation that led to the site’s closure and the action against Dotcom, a German national whose real name is Kim Schmitz.

The business netted its operators around $175 million dollars, while the entertainment industry said the site’s pirated content cost it around half a billion dollars in lost revenue.

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald shortly before the court announced its decision, Dotcom said, that if the authorities’ ruling went against him, he would “fight them long and hard and it’s going to take many years and it will be very expensive for the Crown and in the end they will lose. There’s no case law, no history, of anyone being deported for what they are trying to deport me for.”