Kim Dotcom goes to court today for an extradition hearing almost four years in the making, even as the Government continues to mull over deporting him anyway.

The long-awaited extradition case follows FBI charges laid in January 2012 when the internet entrepreneur and three others were arrested on charges of criminal copyright violation.

The United States wants to extradite the four and try them on charges which carry a maximum sentence of decades in jail. The case is expected to run for at least four weeks.

Judge Nevin Dawson has to decide whether to send the case for trial in the United States.


Under the law, the final decision on extradition is made by the Justice Minister, currently Amy Adams.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse might also be called on to decide if Dotcom should remain in the country.

His office will receive the final report on a deportation inquiry sparked almost a year ago when the Herald revealed Dotcom failed to declare a dangerous driving conviction on his residency application.

Court records obtained by the Herald showed Dotcom pleaded guilty after he was caught by a radar gun doing 149km/h in a 50km/h zone in 2009. Eight months later, he said he had no such conviction when applying for residency. He said it was a misunderstanding and the form was filled in by advisers.

When the inquiry was launched in October, a spokesman for Immigration NZ told the Herald it was still under consideration, saying "it is not possible to say how long this process will take".

He said Immigration NZ carried out its "preliminary assessment" between October last year and April this year.

"Although there are no target timeframes for carrying out a preliminary assessment this case took longer than normal, principally because of the amount of information that needed to be collated from external parties."

Dotcom was then asked for comment which was then built into the formal assessment. "INZ's normal target timeframe for assessing such cases is five months, from the time of initial notification to the client to the time the matter goes to the minister. In the case of Mr Dotcom INZ is within this timeframe, although it is not possible to indicate how long the assessment will take."


The final decision is put before Mr Woodhouse, said the official. "If and once the minister decides liability exists, he may choose to cancel liability, suspend that liability, or sign a notice indicating his intention that deportation should proceed."

After Mr Dotcom was originally granted residency - after the SIS told Immigration NZ of the FBI's interest - he had to reveal he had been convicted on eight business charges.

Dr Jonathan Coleman was Immigration Minister at the time and was given the option of deporting Dotcom. He decided not to exercise it and has refused to release the papers explaining the decision. The Office of the Ombudsman is currently investigating a complaint from the Herald over the papers.

Dotcom also has a lawyer appearing in the Hong Kong courts seeking $30 million to be released so he can buy his mansion in Coatesville.