A New Zealand judge on Monday upheld an earlier court ruling that flamboyant internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three of his colleagues can be extradited to the US to face criminal charges. The decision comes five years after US authorities shut down Dotcom's file-sharing website Megaupload and filed charges of conspiracy, racketeering, and money laundering against the men. If found guilty, they could face decades in prison, the AP reports. Dotcom, who lives in New Zealand, has been fighting extradition in a case that has moved with glacial slowness at times. And Monday's decision won't be the last, with the case likely to be appealed up to New Zealand's Supreme Court, a process that could take another year or two.
US prosecutors say that Megaupload raked in at least $175 million, mainly from people using it to illegally download songs, TV shows, and movies, costing copyright holders more than $500 million. Prosecutors say intercepted communications show the men talking about being "modern-day pirates" and "evil" and that they were part of a conspiracy to profit from copyright infringement. The New Zealand district court ruled in 2015 that Dotcom and the others were eligible for extradition on the charges. High Court Justice Murray Gilbert found Monday that the district court made mistakes in its ruling but that those didn't alter the big picture. Dotcom tweeted Monday, "We won but we lost anyway," adding in a later tweet: "Don't worry. Be happy. I'll never be extradited."