Extradition request lodged for Kim Dotcom
The United States government has formally lodged a request to extradite alleged copyright pirate Kim Dotcom from New Zealand, a lawyer representing the US says.
The German-born founder of the Megaupload file-sharing site was arrested in Auckland on January 20.
He and three co-accused, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato are on bail ahead of a three-week extradition hearing planned for August.
They have been indicted in a US court on charges of internet piracy, copyright infringement and wire fraud.
The lawyer representing the US government, Anne Toohey, said that extradition papers had been lodged at North Shore District Court in Auckland on Friday.
Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, was bailed on February 22 to stay with his pregnant wife and three young children in the mansion they rent at Coatesville, north of Auckland, until the extradition hearing.
The 38-year-old has New Zealand residency and strongly denies any wrongdoing.
US officials allege the Megaupload web-sharing company he founded has deprived copyright holders of movies and music of at least US$500 million (NZ$602m).
Dotcom has had millions of dollars' worth of personal assets seized by authorities worldwide.