Dotcom's lawyer gives evidence against extradition

Kim Dotcom at Auckland District Court (AAP)
Kim Dotcom at Auckland District Court (AAP)

US authorities intentionally mistranslated now-infamous statements by Kim Dotcom and "contorted" legal definitions to create an extradition case against him, his lawyers say.

For more than a month, Judge Nevin Dawson has been hearing arguments about whether German-born internet mogul and his co-accused should be sent to the United States to face criminal charges over their parts in the running of file sharing website Megaupload.

Today, Dotcom's lawyer Ron Mansfield began giving evidence as to why the men shouldn't be turned over, saying US authorities had deliberately used bad translations of German messages between them to create a "cherry-picked" case.

In one of two examples shown at the Auckland District Court, the US had quoted Dotcom saying: "At some point a judge will be convinced how evil we are and then we are in trouble".

But Mr Mansfield said, according to multiple translators, the correct translation was actually: "Because at some stage a judge will be talked into how bad we allegedly are – and then we will be a mess."

He then read a long of local and global news sources that had used the "evil" phrase in their headlines – saying Crown lawyer Christine Gordon had repeatedly referred to it.

US authorities had refused to provide the actual German text in its case file or the translation source, he said.

But the lawyer then drastically changed the tone of his submission, playing an ad for Megaupload which included a jingle and a series of stars, including Kanye West, Sean Combs, Alicia Keys and will.i.am among others endorsing the site.

It also featured Dotcom singing.

Judge Dawson clearly wasn't a fan, stopping the video, asking what it had to do with the case.

Mr Mansfield said it was to show how the company had been a widely used and legitimate business.

Earlier, the lawyer said the New Zealand Copyright Act prevented any protection of "internet service providers" from being prosecuted for the copyright breaches of their clients.

The case was no different to video recorder manufacturers where the technology was "neutral" and could be used for both illegal and legitimate purposes, he said.

"There's no crime in making money from a brilliant idea."

Had the case been the other way around – someone being extradited from the United States of copyright breaches – the US would decline, he said, arguing the US Supreme Court had excluded copyright breaches from being called fraud.

He said US authorities had to "contort" New Zealand legal definitions to be able to find something to extradite the men for.

"It's an attempt to create criminal liability when none exists."

He said internet companies could not be forced to "police" the copyright breaches of clients in order to protect the profits of Hollywood studios.

Dubbed the "Mega Conspiracy" by the FBI, US authorities allege Dotcom and his associates – Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk – were involved in an organised criminal enterprise – centred on copyright violation through website Megaupload – which allegedly earned them US$175 million.

They face charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and two kinds of criminal copyright infringement based on an FBI investigation going back to 2010.

If extradited and found guilty in the US, the four men face charges that carry decades of jail time.

NZN