US authorities have filed papers in New Zealand attempting to have Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom extradited to face charges relating to the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.
Dotcom was arrested along with senior executives Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Batato, in January and according to the New Zealand Herald is now facing the prospect of being sent to the US.
The group are believed to have made $175m in profits through the Megaupload and Megavideo file-sharing sites.
US authorities claim that up to $500m of pirated content was stored one the site, which generated revenue via advertising and offering premium membership packages.
The Megaupload founder has been under house arrest since his arrest, with officials fearing he was a flight risk. Despite having his assets frozen, Dotcom has been given access to limited funds to sustain him and his family during this time.
A date for the extradition hearing has been set for August, but Dotcom is expected to fight proceedings so it is likely to be a drawn-out process.
If the 38-year-old is extradited, he faces multiple charges including conspiring to commit racketeering, conspiring to commit money-laundering, copyright infringement and aiding and abetting copyright infringement.
Dotcom could face a lengthy jail term if convicted.
A US judge handed out a 22-month jail sentence to co-founder of movie streaming service NinjaVideo.
The site was alleged to have generated $500,000 in revenue from the distribution of copyrighted material, a moderate sum when compared to Megaupload.
Since the closure of Megaupload and Megavideo a number of high-profile file sharing sites, including BTJunkie, have voluntarily shutdown operations before being subjected to criminal investigations.
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