Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and three of his former colleagues have lost their latest bid to avoid extradition to the U.S. to face criminal charges.
The Megaupload founder and his three co-accused - Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Botato - were arrested in 2012 in a dramatic police raid and charged with a series of copyright-related offences on behalf of authorities in the USA over their roles in running the file-sharing website.
Mr Dotcom and his co-accused have consistently denied the United States charges.
It upheld a lower court ruling in 2017 that the extradition could take place, and set the stage for Dotcom's final appeal to the Supreme Court, the country's highest judicial body. This new ruling - which still isn't a ruling on guilt - states that the fraud aspect does qualify them for extradition and that the USA court should get to see him in the ample flesh for a hearing.
The US has requested the extradition of Dotcom after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his mansion and shut down his Megaupload business in 2012.
"The evidence the appellants say the United States wrongfully prevented them from calling would not affect the question of whether there is sufficient evidence to make out a prima facie case".
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At its height in 2011, Megaupload claimed to have 50 million daily users and account for four per cent of the world's internet traffic.
Dotcom was "extremely disappointed" by the court's stance, and, without mincing words, he dismissed it as being "in complete denial of the legislative history and intention of the Copyright Act".
The group can seek leave to appeal the Court of Appeal's judgment to the Supreme Court.
Kim Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz in Germany, gained New Zealand residency in 2010 under a scheme offered by the government to wealthy citizens.
Since then, Dotcom has released a music album, started another internet file-sharing company called Mega and launched a political party, which unsuccessfully contested the nation's 2014 election.