Megaupload's Dotcom offers US surrender - with a catch

The Megaupload founder, who faces multiple charges in the US related to copyright infringement, says he will go willingly as long as the authorities there unfreeze his funds so he can defend himself

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has said he is willing to give himself up to US authorities as long as they unfreeze his money.

The German national's extradition case was yesterday put on ice until March next year, following a New Zealand High Court ruling that said the January armed police raid on his home there had been illegal. However, later in day Dotcom tweeted that he would voluntarily go to the US to face copyright infringement charges — albeit with the condition of "bail [and] funds unfrozen for lawyers [and] living expenses".

Dotcom's millions — the FBI says Megaupload drew in $175 million through copyright infringement — were frozen by the New Zealand authorities on behalf of the FBI.

However, in comments made to The Guardian on Wednesday, Dotcom suggested that his offer was unlikely to be taken up.

"Considering the way the US government has conducted their case and the way I was treated, I never expect to get a fair trial in the United States," he was quoted as saying. "We are not expecting to hear back regarding the offer and I remain committed to fighting extradition in New Zealand."

Dotcom and his associates face charges in the US of racketeering, copyright infringement and even money laundering. The charges carry maximum jail sentences of between five and 20 years.

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