US government has filed a formal request for the extradition of Kim Dotcom, Megaupload’s founder, in New Zealand.
Prosecutors had had 45 days to make the application following Kim Dotcom’s arrest in January. The papers also call for the extradition of three other senior members of Megaupload’ staff.
The members of Megaupload’ staff are accused of helping make it possible for users to illegally download copyrighted material through their file-sharing site.
They denied criminal misconduct.
New Zealand court officials said the papers were filed on Friday. An extradition hearing has been scheduled for 20 August.
The US has accused Megaupload’s staff of racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud among other charges.
Prosecutors allege that the website cost copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue.
However, Kim Dotcom has described the scale of the claim as “nonsense”, telling New Zealand’s Channel 3 News that: “I’m no piracy king, I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.”
Kim Dotcom, a German national, was released on bail 12 days ago despite protests by the US that he posed an extreme flight risk.
However, a judge ruled that an electronic monitoring bracelet that he has to wear and the fact that his assets had been seized had reduced that risk.
Pending the hearing to determine if he should be sent to stand trial in the US, Kim Dotcom has been forbidden to use the internet and has been ordered to remain within the grounds of his leased Auckland estate.