A week-long Supreme Court battle over the extradition of Kim Dotcom and his business associates has begun.
Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and Matthias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato face extradition to the US, which claims they were involved in a worldwide criminal organisation that led to an estimated loss to copyright holders of more than US$500 million.
They face more than a dozen criminal copyright charges relating to the now-defunct file-sharing website Megaupload, which it is alleged to have shared pirated films, games and music.
They have been fighting the extradition since his former rented home in Coatesville, north of Auckland, was raided by New Zealand police in 2012.
They can only be extradited if they are eligible to be. The District Court which originally heard that case said they were and that there was a case to answer with sufficient evidence to support it.
Since then the case has been to the High Court and the Court of Appeal, which have essentially upheld the findings of the District Court.
Along with that about NZ$11.8 million worth of Dotcom's assets – including luxury cars, government bonds, cash and property – were seized. Some assets were later released to help cover his living costs and legal fees.
The final decision as to whether the appellants should be extradited rests with the Minister of Justice under the Extradition Act 1999.
Dotcom's new wife Elizabeth Connolly, who recently graduated law school, is now part of his legal team.
The Supreme Court last week released a summary of the case's path through the courts.
The alleged Mega conspiracy was primarily based around the business of two websites, Megaupload and Megavideo, which the United States alleges were used by the appellants to facilitate and encourage the uploading and viewing of pirated copyright material.
On 6 February 2012, a Grand Jury in the United States indicted the appellants, and the United States then sought their extradition.