The FBI takedown of Megaupload earlier this year stifled one of the Internet’s largest file-sharing operations and exposed the hilariously lavish lifestyle of its founder Kim Dotcom, but in the months since, little progress has been made toward actually getting him extradited to the U.S. to face charges. In fact, at the end of last week, U.S. district court judge Liam O’Grady said, “I frankly don’t know that we are ever going to have a trial in this matter,” noting that the company may not have been properly served with papers. The company, the judge explained, is just “kind of hanging out there.”
“My understanding as to why they haven’t done that is because they can’t,” explained Megaupload’s U.S. lawyer Ira Rothken. “We don’t believe Megaupload can be served in a criminal matter because it is not located within the jurisdiction of the United States.” But a Justice Department prosecutor contended that Dotcom’s 68 percent ownership of the company leaves him vulnerable.
Regardless, according to the New Zealand Herald, “The U.S. government needs to get over the hurdle of a five-year jail sentence to meet the criteria for extradition.” That makes racketeering charges crucial in the case, in addition to the alleged copyright violations, which only carry a four-year maximum.
Later this week, a hearing is set to decide the fate of Megaupload’s servers, which could still be deleted entirely. “They destroyed 220 jobs. Millions of legitimate Mega users have no access to their files,” Dotcom told TorrentFreak over the weekend. “We have already been served a death sentence without trial and even if we are found ‘not guilty,’ which we will, the damage can never be repaired.”